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Friday, October 24, 2014

Joes Diner - Chapter 2

Finally I settled for a job in a soda shop and was called a soda jerk.

Here I got to see a lot of the kids I went to school with and listen to them discuss the games I wasn’t good enough to play in.

Strangely enough it didn’t really bother me that I wasn’t good enough to make the team especially when several were walking around on crutches and years later they still walked with a limp.

From time to time Missy would come in the soda shop and I would ask the other soda jerk to serve her.

Then one day I was working alone and she came in so I was stuck having to serve her.  I said, “What can I get you?”

She said she wanted to have a milkshake.

I asked what flavor would she like and she said something strange for her. She said, “You decide.”

After a moment I said, ‘Well; I know your favorite is chocolate so how about a chocolate shake?”

She looked at me and said; “Make it strawberry.”

That didn’t take long and I could see she was still the same old Missy so I smiled and said; “Strawberry it is.”

I quickly made the shake and gave it to her and went to the back room.

The owner came in about that time and wanted to know what I was doing leaving a customer alone in the shop. I said, “Well the truth is I didn’t want to associate with her.”

He said I should find another job and to come by Saturday and get my pay.

I removed my white jacket and took my coat and left.  I knew she heard the whole conversation but we didn’t speak as I walked out of the shop.

Since I had a bit of free time I spent it in the library studying for my classes. This paid off for me for I got the first straight A report card ever.

I saw Missy every so often, but the only time I spoke to her was in the soda shop.

I couldn’t figure out why she disliked me so much.  I had never intentionally done anything to harm her.  I guess some people just tick others off for no reason.

Then came graduation day.  I picked up my gown and the wind was blowing and as I rounded the corner the wind blew the gown over my face and I bumped into someone. As I unwound the gown from my eyes I realized I had bumped into Missy.

We stared at each other for what seemed to be a long time and then I apologized to her for bumping in to her. Then she surprised me by speaking to me in a normal voice and said, “You are graduating today with honors I hear.”

I said, ‘Yeah I guess so.” and turned to go when she said, “I’m sorry.”

Those were words I never had heard her say.
Several years of things that had happened flashed through my mind and I wondered which one she was talking about or was she just setting me up for some kind of insult.

She went on and said, “I’m sorry for being so mean over the years and causing you to lose your jobs.”

I didn’t know what to say to that.  All the years I had known her she never acted like that.

I said, “Thank you but it was my fault in both cases.”

She said, “My father and mother are coming to your graduation and if you don’t object I will come to.”

I said, “Sure I would be honored to have you all there.”

She asked, “Are you going to continue your schooling.?”

I answered, “Yes but only at the local level.  I have applied for some help but so far no one has responded so it will be junior college at first and then the university if I do well.”

“Do you know what you are interested in yet?”

“Yes it looks like political science and perhaps law school after that.”

“What kind of law would you go into?”

“I suppose whatever would pay my bills but my preference would be a defense attorney.”

“Why that?”

“Because most of it is finalized through negotiation and it gives you a chance to argue your points and I like to do that.”

She said, “You never argued with me when I was wrong.”

“Humm, well it’s like this, as long as I let you win you went away happy, but if I had argued with you and won you would have hated me even more and I didn’t want that;  It wasn’t that I didn’t have any feelings to be hurt I just didn’t want to make you feel the way I did.
Then there was your father and mother to consider so I let you vent yourself in my direction hoping you would grow out of that attitude eventually.  
When I was let go that solved my problem and I hoped it made you feel better. Anyway that is all behind us if you want it to be and we can have a new start.”

She began to cry and said; “What must you have thought of me acting so mean like that?  What made it so much worse was I really did like you and when you told those men you were my boyfriend I couldn’t handle it for that would have made me look far worse than I was.  

No one would treat a friend the way I treated you.”

I had to settle these issues once and for all so I said, “Are you ready to start over? Because I am - - -.”

She said, “I would like to just be friends if that is okay with you,” and she gave me a hug.

I knew then that the past was over for she would never let me this close to her before.

To be Continued


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