New York City Writers : Forum : Do you remember?

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Do you remember?

3 Years Ago

He felt vaguely uneasy, restless.  The dark sky cast an eerie loneliness in the city streets. Although it was late, he felt the need to escape from his empty apartment for a while.   Rounding a corner, he came upon an obscure little diner, one he had lived near his whole life, but he never noticed until now. That's New York: a big vibrant city, full of small neighborhoods and little Mom-and-Pop places like this one.   He ducked into the diner, surprised at how bright the fluorescent lighting was, cutting through the dark night like a sharp blade.   He slid onto a stool at the end of the counter. As he did, a young blonde waiter appeared from the kitchen behind him. "What can I get you, sir?"                 "Hamburger, plain ," said the man. "Oh, and a cup of coffee too. Black." "Want me to bring you some sugar? " asked the young man. "No, I'll just take it black, thank you."   After a very few minutes, the waiter placed a platter with the burger in front of him, along with a steaming cup of black coffee. The man paused for a bit and glanced at the young man, obviously new on the job, and said. "You seem like an ambitious hard- working kid to be taking on a job like this late at night. May I ask your name?" "Dante."   "Well, Dante, I hope you do well and get a raise soon!" Waiting  for his coffee to cool down, the man glanced around the brightly lit room, observing the clean floors, spotless booths. He took an occasional sip as his coffee cooled.   When a blast of cold air interrupted his silent observations, he turned his head to see a young couple, faces flushed, tumbling into the diner. The man was clinging to the woman, intent on keeping her safe in the dark of the night. When he released her arm, the impression of his hand remained on her jacket.   The man's coffee was cool enough to drink, and he did so as he watched the couple over the rim of his cup. He couldn't help but stare at them, wondering how the two of them found each other, and how they came to be at this particular place.   He took a few bites of his dry burger, but couldn't resist engaging them in conversation any longer.   "Hi there folks. Pretty late. If I may ask, what is such a young couple doing in a place like this so late at night? Or I should say, morning, by now."   "We’re ..... (Continue with the next two paragraphs).    It'll be a mess."   The man wasn't trying to be mean, but he felt that love never lasts, and that in the end, you are always alone. He found the actual concept of love endlessly intriguing, but no, not for him. Definitely not for him.   The couple ordered quickly, and feeling uncomfortable under the judgment of the stranger they just met, ate quickly, paid their bill, and disappeared into the cold night.   The man sighed, swallowed the last bite of his now-cold burger, and lit a cigarette. Once again in his own world, misty thoughts swirled around in his mind like the smoke that curled from his cigarette. Hazy thoughts surfaced from the deep recesses of his memory. Images of a young woman, of sunny, happy days, that he tried so hard to stuff way, way into the depths of his brain. He stubbed out his cigarette, and shook his head, bringing him back to the present.   "Hey, I'm really hungry!"   The young counter man reappeared from the kitchen. "Can I get you anything, sir?"   "Yes. I'm starved.  Bring me a burger with everything on it. Load it up with onions and tomatoes. Oh, and a cup of coffee, extra cream and sugar."   The young waiter was staring at him, thinking this was a most odd change.  A thought flashed through his mind that he should keep an eye on this guy.     "You seem like an ambitious, hard- working kid to be taking on a job this late at night. May I ask your name?"   "Uh..Dante, like I said before." Now the counterman was become alarmed at this exchange and strange turn of events.   "Nope, afraid not," said the man. Never saw you before. Please take away this stinky ashtray. Don't you hate it when people smoke?   "Oh, and bring me more sugar. I can't live without the sweet."