Cheeseburger in Paradise

“I’ll take the bacon cheeseburger with blue cheese, mushrooms, and onions.”

“You got it. And for you, honey?”

“Black coffee, please.”

“Anything else?”

“Actually, yes–water with lemon.”

“Darling, are you sure you don’t want a bite? You need some meat on those bones.” Internally I was speaking and doing what my mind suggested. Good thing she wasn’t privy to it, otherwise she may have spit in my food. “I am sure, thanks,” I trilled, as if I was talking to a child or a dog.

“Sure thing, sweetie.” The endearing names were sickening me like too much honey. My mind backtracked. “Wait, you eat bacon? You’re Jewish.”

“Wait, you drink water? Ah, you’re human. Plus, all those rules are gone.”

He was cheeky. Great. I stared at him secretly hoping to decipher some flaw and cast him off like the rest. But he was always surprising me, an annoyance and delight at the same time.

He stared back. I couldn’t explain what was in his eyes. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen. It was fury and fire, but something so sure, unwavering, and safe. I was lost in his sea of forgetfulness, and hours seemed like only moments.

And the time had passed, just like that.

“Come back and see me soon–especially you,” she winked at him, and I immediately tried to shake the ideas of her insinuations from my head.

“Oh, Nan, you know I’ll be in Tuesday.” Her name tag said Anna. Apparently they were on nickname basis and he was a regular.

“She’s had five husbands,” he said while sticking out his hand to help me out of the diner’s booth. “She is very lonely, even though she has another husband now.”

“How many times a week do you go to this diner? Jeeze–the food’s not that great.”

“Oh, you know?” he jabbed at my refusal to order food as we made it to the car. “Come, I want to show you something.”

 

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