Ingrid at the Diner

By: Marley Westlund

“Five minutes before closing!” A voice yelled from the kitchen.

Ingrid’s eyes scanned the diner and saw no one except the waitress who served her fries about twenty minutes before, wiping the counter clean with an off-white wet rag.

Ingrid had been waiting for Brian for over forty-five minutes, passing the time between alternations of checking Brian’s Snapchat story and scrolling through the Instagrams of various celebrities. She’s waited like this before. She was wasting time on the chance that he would appear and she could hear his voice in person. Her heart ached at the looming thought that Brian wouldn’t show.

‘Where are you?’ She texted him.

As she waited for a response, her mind played with the fantasy in which the two of them shared hot chocolate at that very table on a quiet winter night like this. Flurries of snow drifted through the air and started to blanket the road and sidewalk outside.

“Miss, it’s closing time,” a voice said to her and she snapped back into the world around her.

Ingrid looked and saw the voice belonged to a woman with dark circles under her eyes and streaks of gray in her hair. It was the waitress.

“Oh okay. I guess I’ll pay then,” Ingrid said and from her wallet took out a five for the fries and two singles for the woman.

The waitress nodded and wandered over to the cash register behind the counter. “Have a nice evening,” the waitress called out as Ingrid walked out the door.

“You too,” Ingrid said a second before the door clicked shut. Ingrid’s car was parked down the street in front of a florist shop which stood dark.

The only signs of life were the overhead lights of the diner, the warm lights peeking from windows on the second story of the building across the street, and a single pair of tail lights glowing red as the car turned a corner and disappeared.

‘Sorry. Can’t make it. Raincheck?’ Brian texted, and Ingrid’s heart wilted.

As Ingrid began to contemplate what her reply would be, the overhead lights shut off and darkness surrounded her.

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