by Julie Wilson
The bell jingled as the door swung open and a rush of cold air blew in. The man stomped his feet as he turned to brush the snow off his companion’s red wool coat. Cindy, the waitress, called from the far corner, “Sit yourselves anywhere, Darlings,” as she poured another cup of coffee.
David glanced around and found a booth with a view of the street and escorted Sophie and sat her with elegance. Wide-eyed, she took in her surroundings. The table was clean, but well-worn, the curtains were heavily faded. At the counter sat three truckers, talking loudly and shoveling in food as if they hadn’t eaten all week. An elderly couple in the corner was as quiet as the truckers were loud. Through the kitchen window Sophie could see the cook moving efficiently between his work stations as he swung a plate onto the serving shelf and shouted, “Order up!”
Her survey of the room complete, she glanced at her menu. Burgers, sandwiches, fries, onion rings, and milkshakes, there were so many choices. She was so excited to be here with him. He held her hand as they picked out their meals and waited for the waitress to take their orders.
Cindy made her way over to their table. “Can I take your order, sweetheart?” Cindy smiled through tired eyes as she attempted to stay upbeat till the end of her shift.
David replied, “A burger and fries for the lady; I’ll have a burger and onion rings, and a large chocolate malt shake with two straws, please.”
She knew most everyone in town, but these two were unfamiliar. “Are you new in town?” Small talk often resulted in better tips.
“No,” he replied, “We’ve been in the area since summer, but this is our first time here.”
She assured him that this was the best burger joint in town, and headed to the kitchen to place the order.
Sophie’s eyes sparkled as she watched the bustling of shoppers in the street. She loved the rows of Christmas lights lining the street, and the storefront across the street had some treasures she wanted to add to her Christmas list.
Dinner came and they quickly dug in. Everything and everyone else faded into the background as they chatted and enjoyed what truly were the best burgers they had ever had. When it came time to share the shake, David moved from his seat across from Sophie and sat next to her. They giggled and slurped and enjoyed every last drop of that deliciously thick chocolate shake.
As Cindy returned to give them the check, David took note of her heavy shoulders. His memory took him back to another diner visit, the one where he had met the woman of his dreams. He remembered her long hours and the verbal abuse from some of the harder customers. He dug through his wallet and paid the bill, doubling the amount to give a hefty tip.
Sophie didn’t notice. She was just thrilled to be hand in hand with her favorite man. Date night with daddy was such a special treat.