Quaint stops on the side of the road, diners cater to the new world vision; post modern acolytes find new prayers, a decent meal for less than six dollars and a bottomless cup of coffee. Eat of the body, ingest enough caffeine, and anyone can wire themselves a demon.
Another happy employee of this place comes by and begins my never ending cup of coffee and sets down the silverware before moving onto her next disciple. I collect my thoughts of the day, the routine is the same, get some food, write some words, and the questions keep on pilling up.
“How ya’doin tonight?” Sophie is one of the many waitresses here; she’s a priestess in this twisted ceremonial metaphor. Over the years of my attending the service here, she has always been a constant fixture, like the plastic ferns and the yellowed portraits of local birds. “Haven’t seen ya’friends here’ya inna long time.”
“Yeah, I know.” I smile and nod. I could probably write her life story from the simple conversations I’ve heard her having with the regular patrons. She’s friendly with me through association; I’ve never attended one of her conversational confessions.
“Ya’al’ready order?” She’s is a mother of three boys and is married to the father of the oldest.
“Yes. Thank you.” I almost ask her how she’s feeling; three months ago Sophie went to the doctor and they found something “not to pleasant.” The question simply sits in the back of my mind as I take another sip of coffee.
“O.K. hun, your food should be ready shortly. I’ll go check.” Up until that unpleasantness she worked all week, after that, she appeared sporadically and a whole month passed without her appearing at all.
“Thank you.” I remember the time her sister had to put her kids up and Sophie adopted them; I could ask her how that has been working out. Her eldest son is playing football in high school; her husband got a promotion, she used to know someone who knew someone whose mother slept with Frank Sinatra. Sophie is already behind the waitress station before I could even consider any of these questions.
She moves on. Another table with other disciples. She finishes her priestly duties and takes their menus and heads for the kitchen. The plates reflect an exhaustion that is blossoming at a point where the brain meets the spine. Sophie laughs an intimidating guffaw that upends the chatter between most of the patrons. Whomever they are, their time just moved a little easier.