I listened as the sonnet played in the background of the empty desert café. It was early and I was the first customer. I wondered if I would be the only customer for that day as the diner was in the middle of nowhere in the Arizona desert.
I watched as the waitress, standing outside the entrance, took a long slow breath through her cigarette and held it for what seemed like an eternity. Just as I thought she was going to pass out, the smoke escaped her mouth in rings of fire and listlessly floated away, shape shifting until form was lost. She was interesting and boring at the same time. I couldn’t imagine living a life as she does but I knew that everyone was here on earth for a reason and hers I could not tell but perhaps she knew or for sure God knew.
Suddenly the faceless man from the back, the same one who had made my breakfast, appeared at my table, and was apparently expecting me to answer a question I had not heard. I looked at him for a couple of seconds and asked him to repeat the question. He asked me if everything was alright with my food. He said he noticed that I had not touched it since the waitress had laid it on the table. He went on to say that he could make it again if I thought it wasn’t to my liking.
This was strange…since when do diner cooks care about what the customer thinks about their food? It was as if he was a world famous chef getting paid an exorbitant salary and his reputation was hanging on my opinion of his food.
I looked at my plate. Typical scrambled eggs, a bit burnt on the edges, dry, a side of shriveled bacon, not the best grade as most of it was fat, and two pieces of dry toast, cold with unmelted margarine slathered on the top. A side of orange juice, and little boxes of jam for my toast. Nothing extraordinary, nothing that I would write Mom about but he apparently was worried about it so I told him I was sorry, that I was a bit distracted this morning, and would he be so kind as to warm up my breakfast in the oven and I would get right to eating it. I asked him for a warm up fill for my coffee as well.
He glared at me. Apparently I had gone too far. But the glare was fleeting and he smiled and gently took my plate away from the table. Immediately he came back with the pot of fresh coffee and warmed up my cup.
I took a sip and watched out the window as the sky turned from midnight blue to vibrant pink, then red, purple and finally dawn. The sun peaked out from behind the desert mountains that surrounded the valley. The waitress had finished her cigarette and was washing her hands in the back telling the chef about her day off yesterday.
How could this life be real? Perhaps this was a novel, I was living in a novel that some unknown author was writing. If that is true, please get to the thick of the plot because I’m getting bored with the every day stuff. What’s the point? You’ve put me here in this desert, by myself, with a boring waitress and a sensitive cook in the middle of nowhere. Where are you going from here?
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