“All men are slime,” said the waitress, Sherry, as she leaned over the café bar. “I should know, I’ve dated a lot of them. I’ve never found a good one yet.”
As she wiped the bar, she glanced at me with a sympathetic eye. I tried to keep my emotions under control, but a tear defied my best efforts and rolled slowly down one cheek. I sniffed and wiped the tear away with the back of my hand.
“Ah, honey, don’t cry. He isn’t worth it. I’d just forget about men for now. Throw yourself into your work. Get a pet. Find a hobby, or two, or three. You’ll be much better off—you’ll see.” She reached over and patted my arm with her free hand.
“I know, Sherry, but I really thought we had something special. He treated me like a real princess. I’ve never had that before.”
“Julie, they all think they are treating you like a princess, and all the while, they’re only looking out for number one. And that isn’t the female in the equation, believe me.” Sherry left my side to wait on a customer, while I continued to struggle with my emotions.
Sherry returned with the coffee pot, and refreshed my cup. I sat and watched the steam rolling up and around in circles, and sniffed, enjoying the aroma. I was remembering the day I had met Jeff.
“Jeff used to make me coffee, and he’d put little peppermint sticks in it for stirring. It was so good. We’d have our coffee out on the patio in the mornings and watch the sun rise. I loved those mornings with him.” I was whining by the time I finished, and wiped another stray tear from my cheek.
“What did you say he did for a living?” Sherry asked. She pulled a step stool over and sat down across the bar from me. She scanned the café frequently for customers needing assistance, but her attention was mostly devoted to my problems.
“He’s a writer. A sports writer. He goes to all the games and reports on them. You know, like Howard Cosell, except he writes his for the newspapers, not on TV.”
I tucked a strand of stray brown hair behind my ear and stirred my coffee. Smiling, I looked at Sherry, and added, “He actually won an award last year for Best Sports Writer of the Year. He was so proud. And I was, too.”
“That must have been a happy time for you, Julie. What happened to sour those happy times?” Sherry leaned her face on her cupped hands and looked into my eyes.
“He was gone all the time. He’d go to games in every state within a thousand miles of here, and be gone sometimes for three weeks at a time. I got so lonely. I didn’t know what to do with myself.” My smile disappeared as I remembered the cold winter nights alone in my queen sized bed, with only an occasional phone call from him to check on how I was, and tell me where he was going next.
“I’m sure that was a lonely time. Did you have anything to keep you busy or have any friends to hang with?”
“No, I went to work, came home, watched a little tv, and then went to bed. I don’t do hobbies. They get expensive, and my job as a secretary doesn’t pay much.”
“What about friends? Maybe you could have asked someone over to play card games or something. Or go to a movie now and then. Did you try anything like that?”
“No, I’m not much of a socialite. I just waited by the phone. I was afraid to miss one of Jeff’s calls.”
“Did he end your relationship? Or did you?”
“Well, neither of us actually ended it. We just drifted apart. He hasn’t called for over a week now, and so I’m just assuming he doesn’t care anymore.”
“Have you tried calling him?”
“No, I could never do that. My mom always told me that to call a man made you look cheap.”
“Well, then, I guess I know what she’d think of me,” Sherry laughed. “If my guy hasn’t called in a week, I sure as hell would be trying to reach him to find out why!”
I laughed, and took a sip of coffee. “My teachers all said I need to be more assertive. I suppose they’re right. I’ve always been so shy. I’m so afraid of what people might think. So I hide by myself at home. Do you really think I should call him?”
“Well, hell yes! Who knows, maybe he’s been sick or in an accident and can’t talk to you. Or maybe he’s found someone else. But at least you’ll know. Here, use my cell. Call him.” Sherry handed me her cell phone.
My hands shook as I dialed his number. He answered on the third ring.
“Hello? Who is this?”
“It’s Sherry. I’ve been worried. You haven’t called.” My voice trembled as I waited for his answer.
“Oh, Babe, I’m sorry. I lost my cell phone, and just today got a new one. I’ve been missing you so much. Hey, how would you like to fly to
“Well, I do have the next three days off. I suppose I could come there. Are you sure? I can’t repay you.”
“Pay me? Who asked for repayment? I want to do this. I think it would be awesome. Besides, I’d like to show you off to some writer friends of mine. They don’t have a beautiful young woman waiting for them. Will you please come?”
“Yes, Jeff. I’ll come. I’ll be waiting for your call. I love you. Goodbye.”
I grinned as I handed Sherry’s phone back to her. She was grinning back at me as she took it and put it in her apron pocket.
“Now see, aren’t you glad you called? He wasn’t dumping you. Now you’ll have a great time with him this weekend. I’m so jealous! Does he have a friend? Maybe there is someone out there for me.” Sherry laughed and patted my arm. A customer waved, and she danced her way down to him at the other end of the bar.
“Oh, God, thank You. This will be an awesome weekend. I’m going to
Julie left a huge tip and a note that simply said “Thank You” next to her cup of coffee, now cold. She grinned as she left the café, ready to face the world once more.