I wrote this post in April of 2014 for a different blog. It remains one of my favorite pieces of writing. From time to time, I go back, read it, and make minor adjustments. Today, I felt it was appropriate to make adjustments and transfer it to this blog.
I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
“We’re closing, sir. I’m going to have to ask you to leave.”
I hear the voice of a woman and look up to see a waitress. She has blonde hair and the stereotypical diner-outfit. I nod my head. I understand what she’s saying, but I can’t leave yet. Something isn’t right.
“Sweetie, I said it’s time to leave.” she says with a tone that sounds something like a sour-patch candy.
“I can’t leave yet. She isn’t here.”
“Yes. I mean, I …” the words are hard to find.
Where am I? Who is she?
“I’m sorry. Whoever you’re waiting for hasn’t shown up, darling. It wouldn’t be the first time I’ve seen an individual in that seat who ended up getting stood up. Such a shame, really. It seems as though you’ve been waiting for quite some time.”
“I have? How long have …”
The waitress is gone. The diner is empty. Lights from passing cars cast eerie shadows on the walls, but since they’re the only source of company, I welcome them.
I sit alone, waiting. The average person would have seen themselves to the door, but something is keeping me from even leaving my seat — a paralyzing thought that I’ll miss something, or someone, if I leave.
She will come. If I wait here, she will come.
“Order up!” shouts the chef as he rings the bell. The diner is bustling with noise and movement.
How long have I been here? Is it the next day? Did I ever leave? What is going on?
I look around. Everything looks the same as before, but not. I don’t recognize the people, the waitress is a woman in her fifties or so, greying hair, and the colors in the diner are off. Everything seems more vibrant than before, almost as if each object and person were generating a glow.
“She’s not here, son.”
I nearly fall off my chair from the startle, and manage to calmly pivot to see who is addressing me—an elderly gentleman, wearing a sweater, reading glasses, and a cap, had finished taking a sip of his coffee and was about to pick up his newspaper.
“I beg your pardon?” I ask.
“I said, ‘she’s not here, son,’” he says with a witty grin. He picks up the newspaper, opens it, and turns each page, perusing the articles. “Pfft,” he says, shaking his head as he closes the paper, “more of the same doom-and-gloom.”
I watch him for a minute, and finally can’t help but ask, “Who is she? How do you know she isn’t here?”
“She ain’t sitting by you, is she?” he answers matter of factly. Something in the way he responds makes me feel stupid for even asking.
“No, she isn’t,” I say, dejected.
The man chuckles and asks, “How long have you been here?”
“I don’t know. A few hours? A day? It is hard to tell. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say that I was —”
He interrupts me. He has that grin again. “You mean to tell me that you’ve been waiting here, for God knows how long, for a girl that you don’t even know?”
I’m in no mood for jokes or games. My expression must say as much because he chuckles, and says, “My boy, you will learn that April showers indeed bring May flowers, but if you spend all your time anticipating the rain you’ll forget the reason you wanted it to come in the first place.”
I stare at him with a puzzled look. What is he getting at? Why is he so cryptic? I wait for an explanation, but he isn’t looking at me anymore. He takes another sip of coffee, folds his newspaper, shaking his head, but seems fairly amused. As he finishes collecting his belongings, he looks at me, and stands up, and offers me his hand.
He’s leaving already? There has to be more in that so-called sage wisdom! Why am I here? Who is this girl? What was he talking about? April showers and May flowers? Pilgrims?
I am snapped out of my internal dialog by his hand grasping mine in a firm handshake. As he begins to walk away, he turns and says, “She, your April, will come. She will. She will bring with her May flowers — joy and happiness — too. Don’t spend your entire life waiting around for her. Live, love, and experience life as if there were no April showers. If you do that, you’ll learn that there never just one way to get those May flowers.”
In some odd Better Home & Garden way, he made sense.
My alarm is blaring — it’s 7:10 AM, time to wake up and take the paperwork to the office. I climb out of bed, get ready for the day, and think about what the old man said. I step outside and look up, it looks like rain.