Prologue: First Day Of July
The lesson in anything is the lesson of letting go. Learning to allow yourself to let someone leave your life. I sat at this little table. Fiddling with pepper and salt shakers. My mother was out back getting her things together to drive me home. And I had been sitting there in that booth for hours it seemed. My cell phone's at home, which meant when I stalked a mile to come here and ask my mother to give me a ride she needed to close up first before providing me one.
I sat there silently. The regulars smiling at me, saying goodnight as they walked out. Alone. In couples. In families. I forced smiles back and tried not to let the pain take over. They say it only hurts at first. But if it hurts this bad after only a few hours, then I don't know how long it will be before this stops hurting.
When the lights in the kitchen go out and I hear my mother shuffeling from out back I sigh, pressing my hands to my face. Inhasling and exhaling. The sickness in my stomach was twisted and inflicting me with bursts of discomfort. The smell of food just made it worse. My mother's diner was empty. All but me and her when she appeared in the dim light.
I got up getting my coat and scooting out of the leather cushioned booth. It was the one I always sat at. But never alone. Even when I was younger. There was lead filling my shoes as I walked ot my mother. She had an arm out taking me and pressing me and letting me lean on her. She rubbed my back guiding me out the door. She flipped to the 'Closed' sign. And the bells rang twice more before we finally passed through that small swinging door.
I didn't bother turning on the light. I followed my instincts. My room memorized as I groped my way to my bed. I pulled my shoes off and climbed in. The soft mattress took in the familiar shape of my body yet somehow there was something slightly off. I rested my head on my pillow. And then suddenly it came spilling out of me.
There aren't many nights where you find yourself crying. I had held back for so long. So many hours. I looked at the clock. The red numbers of the digital clock beside me turned into a blurry set of lines. It's 11:11, make a wish.
The one wish I had manifesting inside of me came out. It was a twisted string of regret. I wanted to go back to the sunset. The pretty clouds. Tell myself how much it will hurt. How stupid I was being. Because of all things I let go of something that was worth holding on to. And my lesson was right now.
I had to work tomorrow but I don't know what it would be like to have another Saturday at the diner. I squeezed my eyes shut. For the beginning of summer, I didn't think things were going to be this hard.
There was a familiar sound out front. An engine cut. I waited. Opening my eyes a little. And then there was a door shutting. Slamming shut. I closed my eyes again. Crossing my fingers. Then faint there was a sound. A song. One I knew so well. I breathed. The song kept playing. I turned my back though. It probably wasn't even real.