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If you walked in and sat on one of those odd-looking chairs, you'd be forced to wait. But that's not the part you hate most. A waitress will have passed by your table three times to ask you what you'd like to have. And you will have asked only for a bottle of wine, one of the cheapest she can find. That's what you hate most, they find out you are not much to look out for.

You cannot tell the waitress that cheap wines taste much better when you are scared to cut part of your school money to please your tongue. That might sound too awkward. You might tell her you are waiting for a friend and turn away with a nod of your head. 

But you know she will look at you and at the fourth passing, stop at your table and flutter her eyelids. That is when you will have to tell her part of your story. You will have to roll your eyes so you don't look too keen to disperse information. But don't roll your eyes too often or she will think you are lying and indifferent and then you will have to leave the restaurant.

If you walked past the restaurant, you'd be forced to look in, to try and find her face in the dim lights. You will want to wait by the door, to peer in and to find out if she could make it. A waitress will meet you there and smile at you and ask you what you want. She might offer a table. But that's not the part you hate most. It's when you will look at the waitress and not know why you are here. You might order a bottle of champagne and gasp at the bill as the night wears on. And in the morning, there will be letters with brown and yellow seals, telling you about the mortgage and loans.

At least that's better than smiling back at the waitress and telling her nothing before stepping out into the rain and musk. Tell yourself this but don't do it often lest you get used to the taste of wine and evening sickness.

Now, if you stand opposite the restaurant in that small shack, you will feel the need to join in the fight by the corner of the street but you will also feel the desire to stroll into the restaurant to see if she came or not. That's just it. But that's not what you hate most. It's the stain on your white sleeve when you join in the fight and then listening as the waitress points out the bloodstain on it.

And you don't want to be the first one of many who will face the dilemma of restaurant entries. But there's nothing else to do so you stand opposite the restaurant and you get drawn into the fistfights. One of the men - the one who looks like a soft smelling flower- plants his fist into a second man. Blood splashes like a running faucet and you step in because you want to arrive at the restaurant a little late. You want her hands to come to yours and her lips on yours. You want that so much that you step in the middle of the fight and drive your fist into Mr. Flower. It cuts his lips.

The night is too dark so he doesn't see your face and they don't know why you care so much. They don't even notice when you slip out and walk into the restaurant.

A waitress meets you there, by the door. As she talks, you check your time. Perfect. You are late. Again. The waitress offers a table but you've seen her already. So you decline the offer and walk towards her. She looks at you. She stands up from her seat and hugs you.

"I'm sorry I'm late. The rain kept me for a while."

You sit apart. You pretend your excuse makes more sense than the story you will offer her when she asks you about the bloodstains on your shirt. She doesn't, though and it makes no sense to you.

The waitress smiles at her, waves at you and you want to leave. You don't know why she would want to eat here, of all places. You've asked her before. She just likes it here, she told you then. If you ask her now, she won't answer. So don't.

You order steaks. You don't eat it. She drinks her wine silently and it kills you how the silence has stretched so thin since you walked in. You miss her, miss her eyes, and her lips but don't look at her too closely or she will think you are a pervert. 

"How was your trip, Willows?" Your first question startles her, you can tell.

She shrugs. She says, "It was good. You were late again. It stopped raining two hours ago."

You want to tell her you don't like the restaurant and the food and the way the waitress looks at you like she knew you had hoped, once, to become president of America. But you don't tell her this. She might look away and tell you you are a disgrace.

Don't give the waitress a fourth glance, she will think you are a stalker.

"I'm sorry, Willows. I was going to call you." But there is nothing you can say that will erase the frown from her face. You are late and that's it. You don't look her eyes, you don't want her to think you don't care. You look her eyes later, you don't want her to think you are lying.

"How is your job as a writer? Was that even a job, don't mind me asking."

You don't know what to tell her. You keep quiet but not for more than five seconds or she will think you are a failure. You say, "Oh, well it's been good. It's a job. I write articles for SunSet, you've seen some of my works before."

"It was crap back then." 

You don't want to smile. You hate that she still makes you feel inferior, fake. And you don't want her to question why she ever married you and got pregnant and loved you enough to keep the baby. Babies, as she corrected four months later.

"It wasn't crap. Although now it's better."

She nods her head.

"I am working on a book now. It's about Ted. Do you know him? The guy with a weird beard that sleeps over at the abandoned building. I've been spending time with him. I want to write about him."

"I did not invite you over to talk about a homeless man."

You say okay.

"You've been failing to send money for the children and I. It's been months. I can't keep doing that, you know."

"I am working on that."

"Four months? Jesus."

You know it's been five months. Don't correct her or she will add a month to it and threaten you with legal action. Just beg, that's your rule to being happy. Beg.

"Please, Willows. I will work on it and send the money."

She says nothing.

"How're the girls? I miss them."

"You wouldn't if you sent the money, called or came to visit."

If you tell her you've been going bad financially, she will laugh and tell you how she'd always warned you about your stupid job at SunSet. Don't tell her that. She would not have allowed you to visit. That's your excuse.

"I'm really sorry." You say to her.

She eats your steak and pulls out money from her purse. She probably knows you can't pay. Maybe that's why you hate the restaurant the most: because it's too expensive for your pocket.

The waitress walks over, smiles at you, and waves at her. You don't smile back.

"I really need to leave. If you don't call me in the morning I'll talk to the court."

She leaves the restaurant. You sit there, alone. You don't know if coming late again served a purpose but if the feeling in your heart is anything to go by, you will want to come late every time she calls you to this restaurant. When you leave, you know nothing except that you hate the food and cheap wine tastes bad. 

And you forget to call her in the morning.

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39 comments

Nirosha P
22:17 Jul 19, 2020

This story was so sad yet beautiful! I was pulled into it. What if you write a prequel or a part two? That would be AMAZING. PS: Could you check out my story 'Tine to think back' ? I would love feedback. :)

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04:56 Jun 26, 2020

Whoa my brain just exploded! 😄 I love the story. You got me completely hooked after a few lines.

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06:47 Jun 26, 2020

Thank you so much, Jessica. I'm glad.

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Kathleen March
22:48 Jun 25, 2020

Nice last line!

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06:48 Jun 26, 2020

Thanks, really

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Johanna J
20:35 Jun 24, 2020

I love this story! Like Kelechi said, great use of the second person POV. I've never written stories like that before so I'm reading other ones to get ideas. If you have time, could you please read my story A Queen's Crown? Thanks a lot :)

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06:59 Jun 26, 2020

I will do just that. Thanks.

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Syeda Fatima
11:36 Jul 04, 2020

it's so touching... I dunno, but I just felt lost in the little world of yours. very entertaining, the words flew about like a played video in my mind. I would love it if you try my story too...❤

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11:37 Jul 04, 2020

Thank you. Of course, I'd love to check yours out

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Great Osagwu
03:59 Jul 04, 2020

This is so well written. Entertaining all throughout.

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11:40 Jul 04, 2020

Thank you so much

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R l Brewer
22:56 Jul 02, 2020

Very entertaining.

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03:39 Jul 03, 2020

Thank you

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Abhishek Roy
19:04 Jul 01, 2020

It's really well-written. Involves the reader as an active component in the story. The repetitive phases of the plot to give a glimpse to the condition of the main character's state is too good. Do have a read of my story : https://blog.reedsy.com/creative-writing-prompts/contests/47/submissions/22047/

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Erin Rasnick
18:38 Jun 30, 2020

I absolutely loved your story. The voice that you used in the story makes for a nice read. I also love all of the details. It was also good how you built up the details to lead to the end. Very well done.

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18:44 Jun 30, 2020

Thank you

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Carly Clarissa
06:51 Jun 30, 2020

Amazing story! I loved every part of it!

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07:28 Jun 30, 2020

Thanks.

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Deidra Glaser
03:42 Jun 30, 2020

Hi! I just read your story and it was very entertaining. I really liked the way the mystery unraveled. I had an image in my mind of who these characters were and why they were going to be at this restaurant, and then with more reading and details presented I learned that these two lovers were ex-lovers discussing child support? That's terrible! But, a good plot twist in my opinion. I also liked the repetition throughout the story with the main character's use of "maybe that is the reason why I hate this place..."

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06:37 Jun 30, 2020

Thank you so much. I'm pleased

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19:24 Jun 29, 2020

Wow! I loved this story, and I love that you did not do this on your first try. I actually wrote my first this week and I would love for you to read it and give me feedback and criticism:) It's called 'THE HOMECOMING' Thanks.

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Dobby's Sock
19:13 Jun 29, 2020

If I have to offer some constructive feedback, I will say this: There were a lot of instances in the story when a "show don't tell" approach would have made it so much better. Also, a little trimming would have given a better touch up to this story which otherwise I actually liked.

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A.j. Eckardt
18:02 Jun 29, 2020

The struggle of separation and the difficulties of finding happiness in life in general. Very relatable to many!

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18:21 Jun 29, 2020

Thank you so much.

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Ken Coomes
14:30 Jun 29, 2020

Great story! Left me wanting more, raising a few questions. A few grammatical errors, but nothing good editing wouldn't fix. Well done.

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Nihal Raven
11:23 Jun 29, 2020

Awesome read. You have tackled the odd second person and future tense with equal aplomb. Congratulations.

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11:36 Jun 29, 2020

Thank you!

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Neppi A
16:34 Jun 28, 2020

Beautifully written! I love how the character overthinks and calculates. It's extremely real, not to mention how you've skilfully added in small details ever so casually without going overboard. Good work buddy!

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17:28 Jun 28, 2020

I'm glad you liked it.

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Courtney Stuart
14:53 Jun 28, 2020

This was a really great story! I really liked how you built things up, and added all these small details concerning the character's relationship to the waitress as the story progressed. It really hooked me in as a reader, and it really made your ending all the more impressive. Great use of second person POV! Excellent writing!

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11:36 Jun 29, 2020

That's really good to know. Thank you!

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Tina Laing
01:39 Jun 28, 2020

A very nice story.

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03:54 Jun 28, 2020

Thank you

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Abigail Mitchell
00:51 Jun 28, 2020

I like how you make it relatable for the reader; it plunges us right into the story the way second-person should. Awesome!

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03:54 Jun 28, 2020

Thank you so much, Abigail

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