Two months since I lost them. That’s how long it had been. Thanksgiving was just a mess of chaos. I decided to work at the station, and let others spend the day with their family. I had no need to be with my mother, and George. They had friends over anyway. My mom texted me, “Happy? Thanksgiving.” I ignored the message, it was what I was good at. After my shift was done, I walked out to the car. I was tense today. I looked around me, I felt like eyes were on me. I said a quick prayer, “Please God, just keep me safe.” I shivered, and quickly climbed in. I slammed the door shut, and locked the doors. In those two seconds to make those simple actions, it felt like an eternity. I slid my key into the ignition, and started it up. I didn’t bother to wait for the heater. I put my seat belt on, and shifted the car into drive and left.
I decided to head to the diner. I wanted a quiet place to sit, and relax. I had a book, and needed to have some dinner. Alice was with her sister, brother-in-law, and niece. Steve, and Peter had their own family. Here I was sitting alone in a diner parking lot. There was a few people inside. They looked like a young group of people who might be traveling. I sat there in my car for a few minutes. It was peaceful. It was the most peace I’d found in a long time. I watched as the group of people were laughing. The waitress brought over their bill. Just one of them, leaned to retrieve their wallet. They all stood up, and huddled into their coats again. I watched as they exited the diner, and pulled into an suv, a few spaces away from mine.
I waited until they left, before I could get out. Once they’d pulled back onto the road, I slipped out of my truck. I slung my bag over my shoulder, and hit the button on the remote. The truck beeped, signaling the doors had locked. I pulled my coat around me tightly, and made my way to the door. Once inside, I decided where I wanted to sit. I turned to my right, and took the corner booth. It was a circular table, with a circular bench as well. I slid in, and plopped myself in the middle. I had a view of the entire diner. I slid out of my coat, and folded it over; setting it down beside me. “Hi there stranger.” Wendy looked at me smiling. Tonight she’d gone for a soft pink, nothing fluorescent. “Hi there.” She smiled, “What can I get you hun?” I shrugged, “Coffee.” She smiled, and turned and left me alone. I sat there and rummaged through my bag. I grabbed my book, and started to read. “Here you go.” She set down a mug, and poured the coffee into it. In a small dish, there were those little creamers. “Sugar?” I shook my head no. “Alright when you know what you want, give me a holler.” She turned, and went back to the booth she was sitting at. I pulled out my book, and sat back and quietly started reading. I had no where to be, and an endless supply of coffee.
Wendy came back over, “Don’t mean to interrupt you, are you hungry at all?” I looked up, “Um, actually could I have a cheese omelet?” She smiled “Sure sweetie.” She turned and placed my order for me, then came back with toast. “Whole wheat, butter correct?” I smiled, “Yes, thank you.” She looked at me, and then started to walk away. “Wendy stop.” She turned, and looked at me. “Come sit with me. You’re not doing anything else, no offense.” She smiled, I thought she might actually tear up on me. “Give me a second ok. I need to grab your food, and napkins to fold.” I smiled, and she disappeared. I went back to reading, and nibbled on the warm toast she’d brought over.
She’d returned a few minutes later. “Here you go hun.” She slid the plate across the table to me. “Thank you.” She brought over a pile of napkins, and sat down. She started folding quietly. “I’m sorry I was such a bitch to you. It was totally uncalled for.” She smiled, a sad smile, “I tend to get obnoxious, and loud. I know it. I just love my customers. It’s the reason I keep working here.” I looked at her, “Keep?” She laughed, “Hun I don’t have to work. My husband makes enough money, I could stay home. I enjoy hearing about your lives. I don’t truly gossip. I like to be the person who listen’s to your problems. About what your kids are doing in school. How you’re doing.” I looked at this woman. I smiled, “I had no idea.” She smiled, “Not many people do.” I took a bite of the omelet, and savored the food. “Child have you not had anything to eat today?” I nodded, “I worked eight hours at the station. I didn’t want to have dinner with my family.” Wendy looked at me, “The holidays will always be hard. Child trust me, they’d want you happy. Promise me, don’t seclude yourself at Christmas.” She reached across, and patted my hand. I looked at her, “I can’t make a promise.” She smiled, “Try then.” I could agree to that. She continued to fold the napkins, and she didn’t press for more questions.
She finished, and looked at me, “I’ve been praying for you. Ever since your accident. Your mom has come here at night like you have. She’s talked with me, but hasn’t gone into detail. I’m aware, plus the news doesn’t help. I pray for you everyday. For you to get up, and get out of bed; that’s the biggest accomplishment. LIfe isn’t guaranteed to be easy. In fact, we’re set up to fail. It’s from that failure where we learn our greatest strengths. So just remember, you’re a strong, beautiful woman. You’ll always be an amazing mother, a beautiful daughter, and a supportive wife.” I looked at her in a whole new light now. I teared up, and swallowed back the sob that almost escaped my lips. “Oh child please don’t cry.” She came over, and hugged me. “Listen I knew you never meant what you said to me. We speak out of anger. Oh sweet child, you’re angry as hell. That’s good. You should be, but don’t let it consume you.” I let those words be absorbed into my soul. She was right. Sometimes we think we catch a glimpse of God. Maybe our guardian angel. I wasn’t sure which one I just saw, but it was at an important time, and I didn’t just catch a glimpse, I saw it for all it was worth.