*This piece is part of an ongoing short story*
I hope you’ll read parts one through five HERE!
Smoke shrouds her shaky, short pink fingernails, curls up past her nose and out the open window into the blue of the great big sky. Her view turns murky as she shoots a smooth, straight line at the windshield in front of her.
Joplin booms. Gladys signals left.
And baby deep down in your heart I guess you know that it ain’t right,
Never, never, never, never, never, never hear me when I cry at night…
The waitress looks disappointed. The place is empty. This will likely be her only chance at a tip ‘til lunchtime.
“Just the coffee then?” Her pencil is poised hopefully over a badgered notepad.
With the waitress gone, the sun glares into Gladys’ face and without the breeze, it’s incredibly warm. She shifts to the other side of the booth. Her stomach, a mind of its own, doesn’t follow. Her hands flutter like an indecisive butterfly, mimicking the thoughts flying through her mind.
She’d promised herself a sole slug, so it was important to wait for the cup to land in front of her. If she sipped straight from the flask, she’d want another in no time. She’d wait. She could wait.
The cup does eventually come, full to the rim. She’d forgotten that black meant no room for cream. She tips a little more than she should out onto the saucer and, as discreetly as possible, adds a generous pour into the steaming liquid. Her eyes close as the sharp vapor reaches her nostrils.
And, she sips.
But, it’s gone before she’s even had time to think. Time to decide why she’s really here. Time to convince herself that she shouldn’t just turn around and go home.
She could go home.
She could sit on the couch with her book and sip away. She could make beans and toast. She could watch True Detective. She could talk to Helena.
Take another little piece of my heart now, baby.
Oh, oh, break it!
Break another little bit of my heart now, darling…
Gladys looks for the waitress. She’ll pay her check. Get back in the car. Drive.
She spots her over by the register, posing herself in such a way that the cook can ogle her without much effort.
Where is Damien when I need him? Gladys wonders as she heads for the till.