4 Replies to “7.2.2014 Journal Prompt”

  1. Reliable as train time, Joshua and Margot, and there’s a table by the window waiting for them and though we don’t do reservations we keep the table free for them. Been coming for years now. Our most regular customers and they’re never a fuss and they’re big tippers, too. Margot and Joshua, and he doesn’t have to ask if there’s an extra cushion, we keep it behind the counter till a little before nine, and then one of us slips it onto the chair where Joshua will sit for the best part of the morning. And Margot’s paper is neatly folded and placed unread on the polished table.

    Every morning ‘cept Sundays when we’re closed, and you can check the clock by their arrival, and they come in smiling, no matter the weather or the day. And Joshua says ‘g’dmorning’ to us all by name and he asks after this or that in our lives, like he’s family. And they wait to be shown to their table and Margot sees the newspaper and thanks us for the trouble we’ve taken.

    They’ve been coming here for more years than I can remember and I’ve been here since I was a girl and I got grandkids of my own now. And you’d think by this time I’d know what they might order, that there might have developed some pattern to what they want. But they read the menu every morning, like it is something new to them, and they ask after the specials, and then they take the time to think. Each day they order different.

    Then Margot takes the newspaper to pieces, and she gives Joshua the page with the crossword on and a pen from her handbag and she reads what’s left. She wears glasses to read now and still the newspaper held so close to her face that her nose is sometimes inky gray on the end from touching the paper.

    Sometimes they touch. They reach across the table and touch each other. Like they are quietly checking that the other is still there, that this is all real and not just a dream. And Margot looks at Joshua and Joshua at Margot and there’s a look that passes between them, so soft and so warm. Then she goes on with her reading and he returns to his crossword, there faces all creased with concentration.

    After, when they have finished their coffee or tea or real lemonade, I clean up. I take his cushion and it is still warm from his sitting against it, and I put it back behind the counter. And I clear away the cups and the plates, the knives and the forks and the spoons. And I look at the newspaper, which Margot has put back together so that it looks almost new and almost unread, ‘cept for the crossword being complete and the clues to the crossword crossed through. And tucked in secret under Margot’s plate, is a tip. A crisp new ten dollar bill – it used to be five when five was a lot.

    Once a year, every year – the fifteenth of July – Joshua fills the crossword out different. Not paying attention to the clues then, but constructing a sort of poem of words, and Joshua makes clear his love for Margot in what he writes and they leave holding hands and Margot, dizzy from the reading of Joshua’s crossword poem, forgets to tip those days. I keep the poems in a shoebox in the store cupboard out back, all of them, and on days when I feel lonely or down, I take them out and I read them over and I make believe it is me that Joshua is writing to and I feel a little lifted then.

  2. No problems, Patty, with you linking sometime. Thanks for reading these scribbles… in the transistion from here to my site, the pieces pass through some small small edits or tweaks as I reread them in a different font. Thanks for popping by and for still reading.

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