The Pie Shoppe had another couple hours left before closing and I was feeling crabby. There were very few customers to wait on. Ahead on the to-do list was cleaning the server aisle, where sticky pie fillings and greasy pie crust crumbs managed to get onto everything. The unstimulating, corporately designed decor, with its drab brown tones and dreary furnishings, was weighing me down. I was bored and wanted to go home. Feeling sorry for myself, I greeted my new table.
“If your name is ‘Dawn’, how come you’re working at night?” His face was merry and the wrinkles around his eyes crinkled flirtatiously. He sat with two white-haired ladies.
“Working at night keeps me off the streets,” I quipped back, hoping my current crankiness didn’t put too much edge in my voice.
“Do you work late?” he asked.
“I’ll be closing the place.” Sadly, I wanted to add.
The older of the ladies asked, “What time do you close?”
“We close at 11 p.m. on Saturdays,” I replied.
“What if I came in at 11 p.m.?” she asked.
“I suppose if you walked in the door at 10:59, you’d get served,” I replied, still hoping my annoyance didn’t show.
“Yeah. With a bunch of spit in my food.”
“Ha!” I laughed in spite of myself. “There might be some surly spread on your burger and fries.”
The dry humor didn’t stop, especially with the gentleman. “I suppose I need to tap a spring to get more water around here.”
“It’ll be fresher and better tasting, then,” I said.
At the end of their meal, I accidentally gave them the wrong bill.
He waved me over. “There’s a problem here. I want to pay this but I don’t remember drinking a root beer.”
I apologized and gave them the correct bill. “You’ll probably like this less since it’s more.”
“I’m still waiting for my rootbeer,” he said.
“I’ll bring your rootbeer.” I smiled and winked. “And pour it over your head.” Their mirth was contagious.
“Dawn, go away, you’re no good for me!” He sang the oft-sung-to-me song charmingly off-key.
“Stop it,” said the younger lady, smiling. “You’re making her nervous!”
“It’s true,” I said. “I’ll go home and cry myself to sleep tonight.”
She said, “Well, tomorrow will be the dawn of a new day!”
They paid their bill leaving a generous gratuity. I didn’t see them come in so as they stood up to leave I was startled to see the gentleman struggle to set himself upright on two canes. His face twisted with pain as he balanced himself. Then he looked up, saw me, and instantly brightened, “You have a nice rest of your night, now.”
“Thank you. I hope you do as well.” I said.
He slowly lurched out of the restaurant with his two ladies tottering behind.
Who was I to feel sorry for myself?