Monday, August 8, 2011
A Long Dark Highway
This late at night the highway seems void and endless. This night is starless and the asphalt stretches out before me sucking up the glow of my headlights. My eyes ache as they strain to see ahead of me, my mouth is dry and my stomach growling. Lightening flashes in my mirror as I notice a faint glow of lights ahead of me.
I pull into an all night diner, you have seen them, sitting there like they were back in the 60's, needing a fresh coat of paint and someone to wash the windows. This one was one of those that looked like an old passenger train car that derailed and came to rest next to a couple of huge boulders. As I turn off the engine and lights, I look inside and see only the cook behind the counter, dressed like Mel from the TV show "Alice", cigarettes rolled up in his t-shirt and a goofy hat on his head. Something looked familiar about him, I couldn't place it, but it put me at ease about going in.
I looked around as I walked through the front door, the booths are lined up along the front of the place, with the red stools standing attention around the counter. A round glass case is sitting there with a couple of pies left in it. I sit next to the pies at the counter, the red stool is pretty comfortable, the vinyl squeaked as shifted my weight. The place was surprisingly clean compared to the outside, the chrome sparkled, the air clean, the coffee hot.
I found out that Mel's name was really Ambrose, and that he quit his job on Wall Street, bought this diner, and the rest, he said, was history. He said he loved what he was doing, meeting people and filling their stomachs. He filled mine very well with two eggs, hash browns, biscuits and gravy, a piece of lemon pie, and more coffee. I had miles to go before I slept so I had to bid Mel, I mean Ambrose, goodbye.
The early morning air was crisp and awakened the senses. I stood outside the door and breathed in a couple of deep breathes, and turned to waved at Ambrose. As I turned I noticed the reflection in the front window. I could clearly see that someone was in my car, and I could clearly see that I knew who it was. How could she find me here, and at this time of morning?