I glance at her. “No, I won’t be having breakfast today.” I look back into the newspaper.
Silence fills the space between us.
Finally, she says, “Well maybe tomorrow then—”
“No, I won’t be here tomorrow, either.”
The silence begins to stretch. I never look up from the paper.
“Well, OK I’ll…leave you to your coffee.”
The waitress named Emily, who has been my waitress every other morning for the past three weeks, begins to walk away, leaving her bright personality on the floor behind her.
“Wait,” I call out in a normal voice, and she stops to look back at me. “I uh…”—I look at the table, and then my coffee mug, and then back at Emily—“…yes, I think I’d like to have my usual this morning.”
Her beautiful smile returns, her hazel eyes shining underneath her golden-brown hair.
“Great,” she says nodding, “I’ll be back in a few.”
She’s been trying to talk to me for two weeks out of the three I’ve been coming here, but I’ve always avoided her. She’s beautiful and kind and sweet and that’s precisely why I’ve not given in to her attempts at casual conversation—she’s not the kind of girl I could fuck and walk away from, with no guilt for her hurt feelings.
I’m not sure why I stopped her.
Ten minutes later she comes back with my breakfast on a plate in one hand and a glass of lemon water in the other. She sets them on the table in front of me as I move the newspaper out of the way, folding it up and laying it on the seat.
“Do you work nearby?” she asks as she jots something down on her order tablet in the palm of her hand.
“No,” I say as I sprinkle pepper onto my eggs, “I just enjoy the breakfast.” And I quite enjoy the sense of normalcy having breakfast in the same diner every other morning gives me, I don’t say out loud.
She rips off the ticket and places it face-down on the table.
“Well, I’m happy to be your waitress every other morning,” she says with a pretty smile that suggests something else.
She’s shy, but she’s trying to be brave and I find it endearing.
The silence begins to stretch again.
“Well, enjoy your meal,” she says and then slips her ticket book inside the pocket of her apron.
“Thank you,” I tell her and offer her a small smile before turning back to my meal.
She nods and glances at the ticket just long enough for me to catch her. Feeling like she wants me to look at it before she walks away, I take it into my fingers and turn it over to find a phone number written across the front, instead of my meal or how much I owe.
She blushes underneath her smile. “You can give me a call if you want to go out sometime”—her blush deepens and it alone intrigues me—“that is…if you’re single. Or even…interested.”
She’s very nervous and growing more-so the longer she stands there and I don’t say anything.
“I mean, you’re not married as far as I can tell”—she glances nervously at my ringless ring finger—“but if you’re not interested—”
“You’re a very beautiful woman,” I cut her off so she can shed the regret and humiliation she had begun to feel. “And no, I’m certainly not married. I’m very single.”
She smiles, close-lipped. I notice another waitress standing by the register, watching us, and beaming. She looks away when she sees that I’ve noticed.
I keep my attention on Emily.
“You’ve never asked a man out before have you?”
Her face gets redder and she can barely look at my eyes anymore.
“Is it that obvious?” she asks, wrinkling her small nose.
I let the smile in my eyes touch my lips more.
“Yes, but I like it.”
We don’t say anything else for a few seconds. She can’t stop smiling and I’m just confused by my reaction.
“Well, I’ve gotta get back to work,” she says and turns on her heels.
I nod and then just before she walks away I say, “I get home around nine tonight. I’ll call you before nine-thirty.”
I guess it can’t hurt to at least talk to her…
Her close-lipped smile brightens, she nods and makes her way to a table where two new patrons have just sat down.
I eat my breakfast, place a large tip on the table underneath the coffee cup and then leave quietly with my briefcase in-hand.