I stare deep into the pie that was placed in front of me and while my attention is focused, my eyes shift to the black coffee that has made its impression in the simple white mug with the red trim. I hold the cup tightly with both hands and wait for the world to end, but it does not. My attention is once again caught off guard and now has moved to the air conditioner that is hitting my coffee creating a small but slightly noticeable wave. The wave inside my cup does not have a place to go. It is trapped and even though it is small the impact is felt amongst my lips, for the coffee has become cold.
My right hand fondles the light weight fork while all other sense becomes over taken. I don’t notice what my hand is doing, but as I look down my fingers have become playful with the fork and twirling it like a baton in a school marching band. It was calculated, precise and delightful. The focus on my hands, coffee and pie transported me into a different world and I have tuned out everyone in the diner. The diner that is housing me is old and rustic. The history within the walls is deep and direct. The hash brown scent from the morning rush still remains, while the smell of burnt coffee and freshly made pies now fill the diner. I could not understand why a diner that seems comforting and simple are now unknown and forgotten.
As my journey continues I see more closed down diners along the roadway. The boarded up diner is saddening and I wonder what the paint color was, what the conversation sounded like, and how the taste of the treats tingled taste buds. My heart begins to pound, I take a deep breath and wish to be transported into a diner where Johnny Cash sits sipping a cup of coffee and eating a plate of donuts. I can only dream of sitting at a counter with J.R., hearing his stories of defeat, ambition and courage within the music industry. The sound of plates and mugs banging transport me back to reality and fill my ears like a wave approaching the salty shore. The sound is comforting for I know the people around me are enjoying something similar. Their smiles are real, genuine and kind. I now take my fork and dig deep into my pecan pie and stare at the consistency that surrounds it. I don’t like this pie, and wish it was lemon but pecan was the cheapest and therefore it was mine.
The women behind the counter has an old bent wedding ring, curious and tired old eyes. I have not paid yet and as she pushes the check forward to my chest, I began to feel the pressure. I turn over the hand written check, see my total and place my cash on the counter. I am hoping at this point that I eliminated any fear of me not paying for a pie I didn’t want. I shift my attention to her and wonder what her life is like. Does she leave here after serving everyone, go home and serve her husband. Does he make her cook dinner as soon as she arrives home from working a long grueling shift or does he help around the house and make her feel welcome and appreciated. Her hair is pulled back; however, one strain has escaped from her format. It lays there dangling clear and noticeable. Her face is wrinkled and her hands are comforting in an old women’s way. I want to grab them and hold them, but I fear that will make me more noticeable to the crowd that now surround me. The diner has began to fill with young and old.
I turn to my right and see a young girl with the most comforting smile and perfectly shaped body. She is wearing a simple white dress with blue flowers. The male companion that surrounds her space has dark deep eyes and hands of fear. He worries me and I began to worry about her. She seems young and even though has bad taste, seems to be in the wrong place with the wrong person. I am not sure if she is trying to mend some dangerous desires and thinks that this person will fill her with the missing pieces. I turn slowly to make eye contact. She looks at me with her big blue eyes, and I stare deep into her with a heartening look of worry. Her long perfect hair is pulled back into a pony tail, while mine is flying wild like the wind. She makes the eye contact back and we get lost in the moment of purity. I want nothing from her, but to save her heart and body from the man across from her. She may wonder about me and what I can offer, but I decide to disengage contact and turn around putting my back to her and him.
I try to draw my attention back to the waitress’s hands and soon realize that too much attention has come my way. Too many wondering and pondering eyes are now focused on me as I continue to write in my journal. I take a few bites, extend my appreciation to the waitress, grab my book and put my favorite pen away. I remove myself from the old counter and walk out. I look up and see the wind blow through the trees and even though the tree does not belong to me, it looks rented and out of place. I unlock my car with the remote, put down my items, turn on satellite radio, back out of the parking lot and continue on my long journey through the back roads of Texas.
As staying within the theme of road trips, I select a truly beautiful song that embraces the time of automobiles and hard work!
Please share your favorite moments of simplicity!
Photo taken in December of 2019 by self.