Tea in a Diner by Molly Pitt
This story is one of the November Writing Challenge entries chosen to be a featured story.
I sit in the leather booth of the diner, afternoon sunlight glistening through the window, kissing my knuckles as I tap furiously at my keyboard. Word after word tumbles from my mind in short bursts, like a song warbling through a broken radio. I am encapsulated by the story I’m writing, the characters and events catching me in their grasp and swirling around my head like soup in a bowl.
Then, without warning, they stop.
Nothing to say, nothing to write, nothing new to add. I have nothing. I scan the room for inspiration, feeling so vulnerable, now my special gift has dispersed from me like smoke. Looking to the people in the room, the furniture, the food, I grasp for anything to start the fountain of words again.
But nothing arises. The people are mundane and boring, the furniture just worn and ripped, the food largely consists of pools of grease that make it extremely unappealing. Even my own satchel, slumped in the seat next to me, has nothing to offer, its rusty buckles and worn leather stare blankly at me.
Suddenly, the bell above the door jingles. It is pushed open. And in he walks. The gears begin to turn again; the machine springs back to life as the words flow. Striding into the diner, he does the same in my book, splattering colour through the narrative and bringing depth to the story.
“My knight in shining armor,” I call to him, and he turns, grinning.
“Excuse me?” Gulliver questions, sliding into the opposite side of the booth.
“You’ve saved my book. It was sounding awfully boring until you waltzed through the door.”
“Well, I’m glad I’m of such a great use to you.” He smiles, pulling his journal, pencil, and paintbrush from his bag.
“Did you bring paint with you?”
“Nope,” he giggles, and I wish I had a camera to capture how beautiful he looks in that moment. I guess I’ll just have to write it into my story.
Lapsing into silence, I return to my typing while Gulliver begins sketching. He is transfixed, a flurry of pencil marks the blank page, his ideas coming to life before his eyes.
I am the same, so caught up in the words flowing from me like a waterfall, I barely hear the waitress arrive with my tea.
“Really? Tea, in a diner?” Gulliver looks up at me, his hand hovering above the page, still holding his pencil.
“I asked and turns out they had loads of tea bags in the cupboard,” I reply, shrugging.
“You’re so weird, Pearl,” he states, causing us both to fall into bouts of laughter.
‘Tea in a diner,’ I think. That should be in a story.