This is my most recent win at Pictures, Poetry and Prose. I loved the picture by Sabrina! My immediate thought was the teenage angst so many of us felt -- wanting so much to be cuddled and loved, yet needing to have that tough exterior so your friends wouldn't tear you apart. Didn't I mention yesterday that I was feeling all broody and what-not?
Our suggested prompt: "She was waiting to serve ..."
She was waiting to serve.
It was a sleepy little town, no doubt about that. Jane shrugged. No matter, it was only a pit stop. Somewhere to eat. Maybe rest a bit. Hide.
Opposite the gas station was what appeared to be the only restaurant in town. It did boast having The Best Burger for Miles. We'll see about that, she thought. Throwing her backpack over her shoulder, she made her way across the street.
Quite a few customers for mid-afternoon, she noted. Maybe the sign was telling the truth. She made her way to the counter and sat down on a stool, carefully placing her backpack at her feet where she could keep an eye on it. Everything she owned was crammed into it.
Mama had seen her come in. Scared little thing. Oh, she had the tough exterior, alright. The short, spiky hair dyed an unnatural purple, heavy black eyeliner. And the tattoos! My word, she tutted to herself. But when that poor dear sat down, Mama's heart just melted. She could see the fading bruise around her eye and the cut on her lip that was beginning to heal. Mama pursed her lips. Damn shame, that is, beatin' on a child like that.
“What can I get you, honey?”
“You really have the best burger for miles?” Jane eyed the waitress, taking in the teased, bleached hair that was ruthlessly sprayed into place and the ample bosom floating above an equally ample body.
Mama leaned over and whispered, “Truth be told, honey, we’re the ONLY burger for miles, but you best believe it’s fine!” She let out a raucous laugh that made Jane smile. “Now you just sit a spell and let Mama take care o’ you.” And off she bustled.While Jane picked at her hamburger, Mama wiped the counter nearby, keeping an eye on what she already thought of as her new charge. She kept up a steady stream of chatter. “You staying in town for a while? Cuz if you are, we sure could use some help around here. We need a new waitress since Missy’s off havin’ her baby an’ all.”
Stay? Here? In this one-diner town that was in the middle of … where was she anyway? She’d been driving for days, not really knowing where she was going, just knowing she had to get away. Far away. She couldn’t stay there anymore. She’d put up with his abuse long enough. Her mother just ignored it, wouldn’t see him for what he was. Jane tried to talk to her, but she just said it was the drink that made him crazy like that. Yeah, the drink. That’s what made him get angry and hit and …
Well, she got away, didn’t she? And she was going to start all over again. A fresh, new life. Make it right. Jane smiled up at Mama. “Yeah, sure, I could use a few bucks.” Mama winked at her and tossed her a fresh apron. “Start tomorrow at eight. Come in a little early and I’ll fix ya some breakfast. Could use a little meat on them bones.” And she was off again, serving up pie and coffee to a man who had just come in.
Jane sighed. This felt good. It felt right. It felt like home. Better – it felt like a new beginning