The waitress comes over and offers me a refill. I’m not sure if I can take another cup of the tasteless, brown sludge they call coffee in here but you haven’t arrived yet so I offer up my cup. This was the obvious meeting point I tell myself as we’ve both been here before. We’ll go somewhere better to eat but for now this place will do.
Some headlights in the car park shine through the front windows, moments later the front door opens but it’s not you. I sink a bit into the plasticky red chair, trying hard to disguise my disappointment, at least to myself. You sounded a bit vague on the phone but I suppose it’s been a while since we last spoke. To be honest, I’d be surprised if you even showed up and I couldn’t really blame you. Who really wants to go back over all that again. Who knows what it’ll open up. I just need to see you again.
I walk over and retrieve the newspaper from the counter, ask the waitress for a pen, return to my seat and tackle the remnants of the incomplete crossword. I could do with the using bathroom but what if you come in while I’m in there. More headlights out the front but the door doesn’t open no matter how much I beg it to.
Thirteen across, CANAL, Four letters, _ _ I _. I write the missing letters in, ERIE, what kind of idiot doesn’t know that? I look around but fail to find a prime candidate. I can’t wait any longer so I head the bathroom, praying you don’t come in and not see me. I do what I need to really quick, wait for the other guy to use the basin, wash up and head back to the corner booth as fast as I can. The paper’s gone when I get back to the table and I look around the room for it. Someone’s sat at the counter with it, reading the sports pages.
You’re over an hour later than we said so I suppose your not coming. Never mind, it’s not the first time I’ve been stood up it I just thought things might be different this time around, might be better you know? Picking up my coat from the booth, I fumble around for my wallet and head over to the counter to settle my bill when you speak from behind the newspaper