Today’s prompt: “Outside the diner, a black pickup rolled to a stop.”
Outside the diner, a black pickup rolled to a stop. Beth had seen him do that every day for four years now.
It really was a sad story. Four years ago, on Beth’s first day at the diner, she served Adam, a regular. Adam knew the whole staff and realized she was new, so he explained that he was waiting for Leigh, his girlfriend, but was ready to order for both of them. He was very friendly and pleasant. She remembered thinking he had the kind of smile that could brighten up a room. It was one of those rare genuine smiles.
Beth was taking another order when Leigh walked over to Adam. Although she was too far to hear the conversation, she only had to see Adam’s body language and face full of sorrow to know what had transpired. Beth made her way to Adam after Leigh left to see if he needed anything. It broke her heart to see how hard he was trying not to fall apart. He paid the bill for both orders of uneaten food and left.
Beth’s co-workers were nearly as heartbroken as Adam. From them, she learned that Adam and Leigh had been high school sweethearts, and that he was working three jobs to buy her an engagement ring. They met every Thursday and Sunday for dinner; those were his only evenings off. Adam was a favorite among the staff, and they were all affected by his heartbreak.
After the break-up, Adam slowly stopped coming into the diner. It was painful for him (and the staff) to be seen alone. Beth would often see him look into the diner in search of Leigh from his black pickup, but he never came in anymore. He would remain in his car, and look at all the diners hoping that he would get to see Leigh.
Leigh had stopped coming in as well. Beth was sure that if she did come in, she would receive free counseling from the entire staff. They would all try to make her see the errors of her ways. She was a sweet girl too. What went wrong? They had been together for so many years, and they were soulmates; everyone could see that. “If only Leigh came in” Beth would find herself thinking as she saw the black pickup approach. Adam hadn’t given up hope so neither would she.
Beth was cleaning a table one day when the unexpected happened: Leigh walked in. The entire diner seemed to hold their breath. Leigh looked nervous as she walked right up to her. She was visibly shaken as she asked if anyone had seen Adam, a regular diner. Beth assured her that she indeed knew who Adam was, but unfortunately, he no longer dined there. Leigh started to cry, she told her that she had just gotten back into town, and no one knew anything about Adam. No one had seen him in years, and she feared the worst. Beth knew he’d be back in his black pickup real soon for his daily stop. Beth wanted to make sure she wouldn’t hurt him again before revealing that she would see him soon.
“Why did you leave?” Beth asked. Leigh answered that at the time it was the best solution to her problem. She told her that she had made a life altering decision that would put her life in danger. She did not want him to follow her, because she knew he would follow her anywhere. She did not want to forcibly alter his life, and thought it would be best to let him go. If they were meant to be, she would survive and he would wait for her. As she finished her explanation, the black pickup approached the diner, and Beth had 30 seconds to decide whether she believed her or not. Before she could decide, Adam ran out of his car towards the diner. Leigh saw him and jumped out of her seat towards him. It was only then that Leigh noticed her clothing: a US Army uniform.