Destiny at the Diner
At lunchtime, Becca decided she needed some air and just wanted to get out of the office. The sun was shining. The sky was a beautiful shade of blue. The air was crisp and clean after a morning rain. She walked down the street, passed the new Italian restaurant. She was drawn into Sullivan’s diner. She hadn’t been in the diner in years. She and her father used to come here for lunch when she first starting working at Bentley Square. The diner was busy.
“Rebecca, is that you? How are you? Good to see you.”
“Hello, Mr. Sullivan. It’s good to see you, too. I’m fine. You?”
“And sweet Mrs. Sullivan?”
“She’s good, honey. She’s making peach pies today. I don’t see you down this way any more.”
“The Boss doesn’t let me out too often, but we DO order take-out.”
“Yes, I know. The Boss likes my Reuben sandwich. Tell him I said hi, honey.”
She sat in a small booth by the window and ordered a turkeysandwich and a black coffee. Across the street in one of the old, falling apart buildings was an agency she never heard of. It looked dark and gloomy, a sad place to work. Bad vibrations.
“Excuse me,” she tapped the man behind her in the next
booth on the shoulder, “How long has that agency been there? I’ve worked downtown for years now, and I’ve never heard of it. It seems a little depressing. What is it, Fusco’s?” He turned around. It was HIM, her ‘Richard’!
“Ah, I, well, hello there!” He felt an odd mix of shock, fate,
and sheer delight. He felt she was close, but certainly not THIS close! “Fusco’s? It’s an advertising agency. Its small, old, unassuming. It’s been there for twenty-five years. Depressing? Oh, yes, you could say that. I work there. I’ve been there… for five years now. I’m… I’m the office manager. Ah… I’m Mark, Mark Ramsey. I’m, ah, so pleased to finally get to meet you… after all the times I’ve… ah, seen you at the station and… wanted to…” He extended his hand. Oh, God, he was acting like a complete idiot, he thought to himself. Just shut the hell up, he advised himself.
Becca was elated. He was so warm. He was very familiar to
her, she knew him. So, her Richard’s name was Mark. He didn’t strike her as a Mark. But Mark was a nice name, a good name. Mark. She shook his hand. No, not shook, more like caressed it. Tingle. She held on to it. Oh, great hand, nice, well-proportioned, big, nice strong grip. She didn’t want to let go. And a very nice lower lip! That wonderful voice, it spoke to her without words. That was the voice she heard, calling to her, talking to her, saying things like “I’m here,” and “Find me,” and “Hello, Sweetheart.” She thought the sound of it was absolutely mesmerizing. She wanted to hear more of it.
“Hello, Mark,” she smiled at him. “I’m Becca. Would you care
to join me?” He couldn’t believe his good luck! He brought his coffee over and sat across from her. He thought she was even more beautiful up close. And she had such a lovely voice, not high-pitched or gooey, but pleasant, calm, silken, and so soothing.
“I looked for you at the station this morning, Mark, but I
didn’t see you.”
Wow! She looked for him, and she admitted it, he thought.
He looked at her left hand. No wedding ring. No engagement ring. For a day that started so badly for him, it just kept getting better and better. Early this morning Mr. Fusco threatened to fire him for his lackluster performance and poor leadership qualities. He called him pitiful and worthless. And everybody heard.
“I had an early meeting with my boss to discuss my semi-
annual job performance evaluation today. I would have much rather been at the station looking at you looking for me. You work near here, too?”
“Yes, at Bentley Square,” she giggled.
“That damn mighty bastard of Bentley Square, Carlton
Robbins, just bought my apartment building and is going to tear it down. In less than three weeks. I just can’t believe he’s giving us less than three weeks notice before he throws us all out on the street to fight for the few remaining city apartments, slum spots actually.”
“You live at the Comstock?”
“Oh, Mark! I’m so sorry.”
“No, no, I’m the one who’s sorry,” he said softly,
apologetically. “Here I am ranting on and on about the Comstock, when I’m sitting here with such a beautiful woman. One I’ve been hoping to meet… no, no, longing to meet for a very long time now! What on earth is the matter with me?” he said, looking down, shaking his head.
“Not a thing,” she smiled, flirting with him. He looked up and
blushed. Stay still, don’t reach for her, don’t scare her off, he said to himself, and whatever the hell you do, don’t you leap across this table and kiss her! Breathe. Go slow.