By: Laura Wirpsza
Song: Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Artist: Deep Something Blue
Album: 11th Song
(picture found at http://www.etsy.com/listing/123352997/the-modern-diner-table-counter-service)
Every Sunday morning at ten o’clock Trenton went down to the diner. Sat in one of the swivel chairs and waved the elder waitress over. It was his routine, the one day of the week where everyone in town knew where he was. And the one day everyone left him alone.
“What will it be dear?” Everyone except the waitress.
“Scramble eggs and black coffee. ”
“No hash browns?”
“No hash browns,” he confirmed. The waitress did not bother to jot down his order as she wrote Trent on the pad. A white cup of black coffee was filled up and the sweet aroma filled the area. The diner was packed with hard working folk as they caught up about the service or the latest activities. He looked down, the waitress filled up his white mug. The steam evaporated towards the ceiling with the bitter aroma.
The diner door jingled open and clicked back into place. A young woman pulled her purse to the side. Black cat frames just fitted under her black bangs. Her hair was neatly arranged in a bun under a blue hat. She was wearing a pale green jacket with a blue dress skirt. Not bad looking. Not the best. But not bad, Trenton’s thoughts muddle together.
“What will it be dear?”
“Two eggs over easy and hash browns.” Her voice was lyrical, floating over the bustle. She took a seat two down the counter.
“She’ll have the hash browns.” The waitress beamed in delight.
Trenton didn’t bother as he took another sip of the dark caffeinated drink. Then his order was up. He would glance over as the waitress returned with his meal. The woman’s mug was filled to the brim. She had pulled out a The Ledger and folded it neatly back. The newspaper wrinkled and crinkled blending with the clinking of dishes and customers.
“Any good news?”
“That will be the day,” she snorted to herself.
“Trenton,” he reached over the empty seat. “Trenton Bates.”
“Elizabeth Kline,” she took his hand. It was thin and soft in his large calloused hands. She paused staring at the missing pinky finger. Unsure she stared at his hand. He ducked it back under his coat.
“You and those nine fingers of yours.” the waitress muttered.
“You work in the factory.” Elizabeth muttered turning back to her paper.
“Everybody in here has worked or will work in that factory,” Trenton chuckled. “Some may ever die in there.”
“True. The accountant quit so I am assisting him for the time.”
“Kline, as in Mr. James Kline.”
“Yes, he is my father.”
“The boss’s daughter,” the waitress whispered to her coworker.
“And you’re the worker’s union leader,” she flipped the newspaper back continuing to skim over the black and white articles. Trenton couldn’t help but laugh.
That was first conversation Elizabeth and Trenton had. However, despite their very different lives, every Sunday they would sit side by side at the diner counter exactly one chair apart. For three months this went on. Then one Sunday morning the only two chairs available were together on the corner. The waitresses and staff were having a field day of gossip and wedding bells. Elizabeth showed up with her newspaper or book and sat down next to him without batting an eyelash. She smiled and blushed. Trenton took a sip of his black coffee. After breakfast, they left together. The old waitress came back from her break raving how they were holding hands.
“Did you hear they are closing the factory?” the cook whispered.
It had been six months since Elizabeth had appeared. Trenton did not say much that Sunday morning and the boss’s daughter was a no show for the first time ever. His ghost pinky twitched, his stud was throbbing. Or perhaps it was his hammering heart.
“Wonder where’s she gone off to?”
“Ran back to daddy dearest,” he muttered slapping down the same amount as always. He left the diner alone.
An hour later, door jingled open. Elizabeth barely caught her breathe standing at the doorframe.
“You just missed him,” their waitress scolded her.
“I swear that man is going to be the end of me,” the young woman muttered. The diner door slammed shut.
The street was disserted, it had been ten years since the factory had closed. Eight years since the union riots and clash with the police. Three years since he had been a free man and out from behind bars, five years in the can really changed him. Now he had returned and his routine would never return to normal. Everything he knew was gone. The world had changed and so had he. The diner was closed. Boarded up like the rest of the street. Shaking his head, Trenton stared up at the large red paint. Elizabeth must be married and have kids by now. They hadn’t spoken in ten years. Their last conservation was right after the factory had closed its doors. Ten years of silence.
“Trenton?” that same lyrical voice came from down the street. Trenton Nine Fingers turned back to see her in a simple black dress and those all too familiar black cat glasses.
“Elizabeth.” He nodded. “How did you know?”
She laughed. “Where else would I be?”