The Diner

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Abandoned

A young man attempting to get home to stop his ex-girlfriend's wedding stops at a roadside diner.

 

 

 

He slammed the phone down before pulling his collar up and stepping out into the pouring rain. Dashing to the door he ducked into the roadside diner and looked around. He found an empty booth in the back corner and dumped his pack on the floor before stripping off his soaking wet coat and hanging it on the edge of the booth. He wanted to pull out the map and see how much further he had to go, but he knew it was miles and miles already.

The waitress approached chewing gum and dropped a menu on the table. “Want something to drink as you decide hun?”

“Just water for now.”

After the waitress got him a glass of water he dug into his wet pants and fished out a bunch of wet singles. Slowly he peeled them apart and laid them on the table. Looking over the menu he felt his stomach knot up with hunger. He looked at the bills spread out on the table and let out a soft groan.

The waitress shoes made a loud clicking sound as she approached the booth. She looked him over slowly taking in his wet and ragged clothes and that hangdog expression on his face before speaking. “So, what it going to be?”

He licked his lips as he looked up at her nametag. “Flo, I’ll take the burger and fries.”

“Nothing to drink hun?”

“Just water.”

“How about I throw in a coke for free?”

He nodded not trusting himself to not start blubbering. It was just a small act of kindness, but for him, it meant so much. The clicking of her shoes told him that she had walked away as he kept his eyes on the tabletop.

As he sat there waiting for his food he reached down and dug the map out of his bag. It took a little work to find where he was and calculate the distance he still had to go. He did the math in his head three times and came up with the same answer every time, he was going to be a day late. He started to crumple the map up when he heard the clicking of Flo’s shoes approaching.

“Something wrong hun?”

“It's nothing. This looks really good.”

“I’ll let Mel know you said so.”

As Flo walked away, he dug in, it had been a few days since he had eaten anything that hadn’t come from a vending machine. His stomach began to loosen up a little as the food hit it. As he finished the last of the fries he leaned back and closed his eyes only planning on resting a few minutes.

 

“Hey, hun. Wake up.” He slowly opened his eyes as someone shook him.

“Fuck I fell asleep. What time is it?”

“Almost 10.”

“10 O’Clock, I lost 8 hours.” He dropped his head to the table as he began to sob.

“What is a matter,” Flo asked as she gently rubs his back?

“I was going to be a little late before, but now, now I’ll never get there in time.”

“Late for what?”

“That is kind of a long story.”

“Well you tell me your story and I might be able to get you where you are going on time.”

He looked at her considering his options. If he left now, it would take a miracle to get there in time, but what could some gum chewing red-headed waitress do? He started to get up determined to push on, but it was useless, so he flopped back down.

“I left home when I turned 18 so sure I had talent. I hitchhiked my way to Nashville with the idea that I would be the next Toby Keith.” He chuckled, “I was such an idiot. Two long years of doing anything and everything to survive as I tried, again and again, to prove I had some talent. I would probably still be there in a crappy little apartment working three jobs to pay the bills if my mom hadn’t told me when we were on the phone two days ago my old girlfriend was getting married.”

“So, you are trying to get home to see your ex one last time before she gets married.”

“I was in love with her for so long, her and my dream of being a country-western singer was the only things I had in my life. I was 18 and thought I knew it all, I thought she would wait for me to make it, hell I thought it would only take a few weeks maybe a month. I kept putting off going back because it was my dream and …”

“and you what thought she couldn’t find anybody else?”

“Yeah, I guess that is what I thought. When my mom told me about the wedding, I just grabbed what I could and started back. I didn’t have the money for even a bus ticket, but I thought I could do it. I had it all worked out, but hitchhiking isn’t something you plan. I have been on the road for two days and figure best case I have two more before I get home a day late.”

“What would you have done if you got there on time?”

“I would beg her to stop the wedding to give me another chance. I would go to work at the feed store with my dad and brother. I would … I would … I don’t have a clue, but my dream is dead, and I can’t let her go without trying.”

“Where exactly you headed?”

He pulled out the map and showed her, it was a tiny speck of a town. But he really couldn’t wait to get back there. “I don’t see how I can make it hitchhiking.”

“You just get in the bathroom and clean yourself up and let me see what I can do.”

 

He came out of the bathroom to find another burger on the table. He sat down feeling defeated, but the smell of the burger made his stomach growl and he found himself eating it. He was just swallowing the last little bit as he heard Flo’s shoes make their clicking noise on the floor.

“Well, hun this here is Peter. He drives that big rig out in the lot.”

“Hi Peter, I’m Tommy,” he says as he extends his hand to the man.

As they shake Flo continues, “Peter is going to take you as far as he can and there will be someone waiting for you. We are going to get you home in time, but you have to promise to write me and tell me how this turned out.”

“I will Flo, I swear I’ll write you,” Tommy said as his eyes teared up.

 

 

Hi Flo,

 

It’s Tommy, I know it has been a few weeks, but I had a lot to do and so much to tell you. So, Becky Lynn, she is my girl, she wasn’t very happy to see me, but I told her my story and well it took a lot of talking and promising, but she gave me another chance. Her fiance wasn’t very happy about it, actually came after me, but the sheriff straightened him out.

I’m working at the feed store with my dad and brother, it isn’t so bad actually. My dad says that if I put in the effort he may even give me enough of a raise me and Becky Lynn can get our own place.

I got a letter the other day, that is what reminded me to write you, from a producer in Nashville. He wants to buy a song from me, something I wrote in high school for Becky Lynn. I talked it over with her and well she laid down the law so I can write all the songs I want, but I’m not ever allowed to leave Bricks Creek.

I have included the money I owe you for the food. I also want to invite you to my wedding. We are planning it for April 17, of next year. I really hope you make it because you made it possible.

 

Tommy Martin.

 

 

Flo smiled as she folded the letter and slipped it back in the envelope it had come in. She carried it to her closet and pulled out a shoebox filled with others and slipped in the newest letter into the box. So many people over the years had come through her diner in need of just a little help and it was just amazing how many had gone on to do great things.

 

 


Submitted: February 24, 2021

© Copyright 2022 Gypsy Rose. All rights reserved.

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Add Your Comments:

Comments

charlamaye

Good story

Tue, April 26th, 2022 1:24am

Author
Reply

Thank you

Sat, May 14th, 2022 6:10am

llywrch

Yes, this was a pleasant read. And that's a fascinating photo of a diner!

Tue, April 26th, 2022 6:36am

Author
Reply

Thank you

Sat, May 14th, 2022 6:12am

charlamaye

You're welcome

Sat, May 14th, 2022 6:31pm

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