Table for Two (February 2019, Round 1, Day 5)
The diner was homey and warm, a pleasant contrast for most of its patrons. There were just enough people scattered around at tables in ones, twos, and threes to provide a constant hum of conversations to float above the music piped into the room. The waitstaff, all two of them, were so similar they didn’t bother dividing the room into sections and instead shared the tasks of taking orders and delivering food. It was a good place to go unnoticed and unbothered.
Allow me to draw your attention to the man sitting in the back corner of the diner. He’s the one hunched over his cup of coffee, muttering even though there’s no one sitting across from him in the booth. The first thing you notice is his hair, and rightly so. It looks like it’s been longer since its seen water than since an old dog learned its last trick, and you’re not quite sure there isn’t something living inside the mass of tangles.
As you look at him, notice how the rest of the people in the diner react to him. Or, to be clearer, notice how the rest of the people in the diner DON’T react to him. Given the state of him it’s fair to presume that his odor exceeds his immediate viscinity and yet it looks as though even his scent isn’t enough to get the attention of the others.
Except, you see that one of the waitresses sees him, reacts to him. She pours him more coffee on every circuit of the room and looks at him with well-masked pity as she leaves his table. She doesn’t talk to him, presumably because she’s learned that talking isn’t what he’s suited for and because an always full coffee cup says plenty.
And the youngest person in the diner, seated clear at the other side of the room, only has eyes for the man. If you could paint a picture of the opposite of the muttering man it might look something like this new fellow. He sits ram straight in his booth. He is silent. He has hair so short you would be able to see his scalp through it if it weren’t so tightly curled. His skin is a deep, creamy brown where the other man is so pale he’s almost translucent. You notice that this young man is also a very sharp dresser and quite handsome. You can see yourself approaching the young man, possibly finding a shared hobby or two, going out to some fancy restaurant to try adventursome cuisine. You don’t see yourself having the bravery to aproach the muttering man and certainly don’t imagine spending time with him outside this diner.
It’s the other waitress who is drawn to this man, much like her coworker is drawn to the muttering man. She uses words as well as coffee, however, and seems to have similar ideas to you as to how much she’d like to get to know this sharp dressed man.