Clients in Seattle had bought a large painting, that I had mentioned I would be happy to hang for them. On Tuesday I drove it to their home. Most often I make these trips with Precious and Mr. Man in tow. Precious and Mr. Man are much better with the clients than I am. They can schmooze and it leaves me free to just be the muscle. For this trip I was on my own. Everything went just as it should but on a long drive I missed my side kicks.
A road sign covered with restaurant logos caught my attention and awoke my appetite so I exited the highway in search of lunch. Most often I will hit the drive thru of the closest fast food joint. For some reason I felt like sitting down for something a little bit more. Sadly I chose Denny's. It was just like all of the other Denny's I had been too. Overly bright with florescent lighting and had the faint smell of old people. I stayed anyway.
The place was practically empty. Like a truck stop in the middle of no where. To the left were an older couple. They sat in silence, cupping their coffee mugs with both hands as if to warm them selves. Pausing briefly to gaze at their own reflection in the black liquid before taking a slurping sip, and pausing again before sitting the mug back on the table.
I decided their names were Stanley and Gertrude. He called her Gert for short.
At the counter was a large man in a Hawaiian shirt and plastic lei's. He was starring at spread sheets. Groaning and rubbing his head about every five pages. A few seats away was another large man. His tight curly hair sticking out in every direction from under his cap. He too had only coffee. He spouted his opinion about Bush and that state of the country when ever someone was with in ear shot.
Linda B was the host and my server. Her rehearsed speech trying to sell me a caramel latte with free refills was barely coherent. She didn't wait for a response before dropping the menu on the table and wandering off.
My booth over looked the parking lot of the Motel 8. It looked empty as well. I ordered lunch and a drink. I sat eves dropping on the conversation at the counter. The bus boy had stopped to offer more coffee and was now locked in a heated debate about the middle east.
As my food came an other couple was sat in the booth next to mine. It made me wonder, why with an empty restaurant they would seat everyone next to one another instead of spreading them out for a little privacy. What ever. It gave me someone else to listen too. And listen and listen.
I could hear the woman talking when they came in. She never stopped. On and on and on. She talked about how she hated her job. The buss boys she worked with were always trying to steal her tips. The management was stupid. She hated working with women because they always talked about their problems. I giggled at that. I'm guessing they said the same about her. She wanted a bloody mary but they only had beer. She hated that too.
Her friend got up to go to the restroom, and she never stopped talking. As if he were still there. When he came back he sat down and continued nodding his head and agreeing with her. She never missed a beat.
SON OF A BIATCH! Even at 41 years old I am incapable of eating without spilling something on my shirt. Grease too. That's going to stain. I love this shirt.
Precious always laughs at me when I spill. I'm worse than Mr. Man. I'm a magnet for food spills.
I thought about them. I missed having them with me, even for the afternoon. I started to think about the summer. What am I going to do without them for five months when an afternoon makes me melancholy? Trying to clean my shirt, to no avail, I gathered my things and hit the road.
A few hours later when I walked through the door of our house, I heard the screaming sound of "DADDY!" Mr. Man ran down the hall and threw himself into my arms. "I missed you Daddy. Do you want to go for sushi?"
It was all I could do not to cry. So I just hugged him. "I missed you to bug, sushi sounds great."