Tuesday, June 20, 2017

a drive up the coast 1

They started with a drive up the coast. They agree that is how we began.


They met for breakfast that Saturday at the same Burbank café where they'd first met, the Sunday before when they'd sat next to each other at the counter. The same waitress served them the same thing. He had huevos rancheros, she liked pancakes and eggs. They both had three cups of the same strong coffee that had started their conversation.


That is some gooood coffee, Bill had said to Vee, the waitress, when she'd asked him if he'd like a refill. Milly, sitting at the stool on Mike's right, added that's why I come here, and thus began the three-way exchange in which Vee revealed the "Vee" on the nametag on her blouse is for Veronica, Milly admitted to Milicent, and Bill nodded at Milly's guess that it's William on the birth certificate.


William what, asked Milly.


When Bill said Carlton, Vee removed herself from the exchange, tending to other diners along the crowded counter, and remembered when her boyfriend, probably still asleep, used to be attentive. She wondered what she had done by staying when she had that chance to make a mostly clean break. Stop it, she told herself, then went to the employee's bathroom to wipe her eyes, blow her nose and wash her hands.


By the time Vee strolled back to Bill and Milly and noticed their second coffees were gone, they were leaning in toward each other, the volume of their conversation turned down to inaudible to Vee's ears.


Cup number three, folks?


Bill and Milly nodded. Vee poured, feeling as if she'd interrupted.

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