February 22
by Anita Rosen

Daybreak, he walks into the diner, dirty blond hair caught back in a loose ponytail, pants hanging just right on slim hips. Every female eye drifts toward him.

Trucker, I think. Nice enough to make even my tired bones tingle. Reminds me of Herm, when we were starting out.

Millie and I glance at each other, but, before we can silently nominate one of us to take his order, here comes Alicia, all 110 pounds of her, bouncing along on the tips of her toes.

“I got it, girls,” she calls out.

Straight-legged, ass in the air, elbows on the table, she shows him today’s specials.

“You got a lucky look about you,” she says, appraising him beneath mascaraed lashes.

“Got lucky at the casino. Maybe my streak’s not worn out yet.”

Alicia smiles and saunters away. Retrieving a cup of coffee, she asks, “Honey, you want this with cream?”

An hour later, Alicia appears in the kitchen, where Millie and I have been cleaning after the morning shift.

“Don’t have to ask where you’ve been,” I say.

Alicia pulls out a wallet and counts $1,000.

“Guess he wasn’t so lucky, after all,” she smirks.

Furious, I snatch the wallet.

“You’re worse than a tramp, stealing that boy’s money.”

“I’ll give you $100; after all, I worked for this.”

I find a card in the wallet and call the number of the company he works for, tell them the wallet must have fallen from his pocket in the diner.

Alicia whirls around, slings her apron across the room and leaves.

Driving home, I can’t think why I didn’t take the $100. It’s not like we can’t use it with Herm not working now because of his arthritis.

Ah, well, it will make a good story, maybe cheer Herm up a bit.

I pull up the driveway and see my love sitting in a chair, umbrella tilted to protect him from the late-morning sun, looking like the king of what surrounds him – all the junk even we don’t want that he tries daily to sell to anyone silly enough to be lured onto the property with his hand-painted “Yard Sale” sign.

Pulling my tired legs out of the car, I realize I won’t be telling Herm this tale after all.

Write to Anita: arosen@bigcanoewriters.org