by Dina L. Relles
Neon sign in the window, swaying yellow lights, locals lining the counter. A rack of coats hanging like it’s home. Framed sepia shots of the same place in the sixties. The low chatter mixes with frying pan and egg and Fleetwood Mac and the waitress slides in next to me to take my order like it’s a secret. I want to tell her how the neighbor plowed our driveway that morning without being asked or how I saw two people holding hands across their wheelchairs in a hospital lobby or how I slept on the shoulder of a stranger in an airplane headed south, but just then an older couple settles at a nearby table and You remind me so much of my daughter and here comes that song we all know and I watch their worn faces sip weak coffee, the silver walker propped beside their two-top with a view of the road. Regulars. We’ve come to get out, to be let in, to be lonely, together. Here, a fork, a spoon. Here, a whole world. I pick a seat facing outward, always.
This began with a tweet: “I’m at a Saturday diner falling more in love with the world.” And then it became about airports and laundromats and NYC walkups, but really it just wanted to be about the local diner. You know the one.
Dina L. Relles’ work has been/will be in The Atlantic, Barrelhouse, Monkeybicycle, CHEAP POP, Passages North, DIAGRAM, and Wigleaf, among others. She is the Nonfiction Editor at Pidgeonholes and Assistant Prose Poetry Editor at Pithead Chapel. More at dinarelles.com or @DinaLRelles.