Robert McLaren sat down in his usual chair at the diner, and ordered his usual sandwich.
“Pickles today?” the waitress asked, engaging in the practiced banter.
“Not today, but maybe tomorrow,” said Robert. It was the standard response.
She mimed writing down the order, even though the slip was already in line in the kitchen, and walked away, leaving Robert with a cup of coffee. Just like every day.
Today, though, he had something to tell her. He tried to speak up when she left the table, but the words died in his throat. He coughed to cover the awkward sound he made as he aborted the sentence.
“We’ll have that up for you right away,” she called to him from somewhere around the corner.
He sipped his coffee and tried to relax his shaking leg. Nerves. They were going to be the death of him.
She came back with cutlery and a napkin. As she placed them in front of him, she spoke again. “Awfully stormy out, isn’t it?”
As if the weather was listening, lightning flashed on the other side of the large windows, and, with a concussion of thunder, the lights went out.
The waitress wasn’t slowed for a second. Without batting an eye, she continued her work. “Well, Mr. McLaren, it looks like you’ll have to have to shake things up and have some pie with your sandwich, because it won’t last in the fridge if the power is out.”
Robert put aside the thought from earlier. If his lunch was about to change, maybe he should, too. Instead of revealing his secret, he said something else. “I know I’m here all the time, but I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t know your name,” he told his server.
She looked at him strangely, in the darkened dining room. “Really?”
The lights flickered back on, interrupting Robert’s reply. The waitress was distracted, too.
“Would you still like the pie?” she questioned, hesitating slightly.
Robert shrank back into the bench. “No. I shouldn’t.”
“Ok,” she said, and returned to the kitchen.