By the time I stood up to leave, the diner was hopping with working folk coming in for their fill of calories to fuel them through the day. Some young professionals even came in to sip coffee while reading The Economist or the Financial Times.
I probably had drunk three cups of coffee? I couldn't know for sure because Rita kept refilling my mug so that it always felt like it was about to spillover.
I'd learned the waitress' name, Rita, in the span of those hours. She had come over to ask me how I was doing. Had assumed I was a student. And for the first time I was unable to say yes to that.
"Ah. So what'yu doing to make the bacon?"
"Nothing at the moment. I just dropped out actually."
Her face hadn't flinched. It was as though I'd told her the most ordinary thing. I might as well have told her that I was planning to go grocery shopping. Her reaction, or lack of one, actually made me feel better.
When I stood up to leave I surveyed the diner to see who was around. Nobody who had been here when I first entered. The overweight lady with her book was gone. The two working men, gone, and replaced with a new batch of working men. And the guy sleeping with his head on the table. Even Rita. Gone.
When I stepped outside of the diner, I was reminded of those childhood days when naively coming out of the theater thinking it was night, you were blinded by the daylight.
Yes. Daylight and cars. So many cars. Whizzing and guzzling and whirring by. I finally went to check the time, but it turned out that my phone was dead. Oh well. I decided to walk back to my apartment, when another waitress came over holding a white sytrofoam box.
"Hey. You forgot your Westcity Hash."
I looked at her for a moment before snapping to realization. Right. I had ordered that with Rita hours back.