Despite my responsibilities, I watch a couple with their elbows on the table. Their bodies are comfortably molded into the leather benches of the booth, and their 20 fingers as interlocked as their gazes. They smile to each other, revealing pearl white teeth with the slightest tinge of yellow discoloration caused by coffee and age. By their appearance, you could imagine they were two teenagers on a first date. Yet, they had informed me earlier that they were celebrating their 12th year of marriage that week, and this diner was only a stop on their road-trip to wine country. Funny, I always considered this diner as a single stop myself. However, I have now worked as a waitress with the same uniform for six years, resulting in my thinking of this place as a home that I would never want to leave.
This place really became a home when Arthur joined the kitchen staff. As of this moment, I gaze into the kitchen at the 6'3" man standing in front of the grill, his large rugged hands wrapped around a spatula and a pair of shiny metal tongs man-handling eggs and bacon for another order. He looked at me and accompanied by the subtle smirk that makes my heart warm, and the blood rush to my cheeks, he winks at me. I smile my own smile that he says negates the need for any treasures. I look at my feet in shyness, thinking about that wink as I examine the interlaced knots on my converse shoes that phase in and out of view with my uniform skirt's flourish.
Arthur joined our staff about a year ago, and we became smitten the very next day when I met him on my following shift. His voice was deep, rugged, yet communicated care, gentleness, and safety. His gaze wasn't piercing, but rather inquisitive for permission. There was never anything he took for granted or without consent. It wasn't long before we started dating, and it wasn't long before we had to tell the owner that we were an item. Fortunately, he agreed to our relationship, and six months later, we began living together. We had a small apartment above this diner for an affordable cost, consisting of two bedrooms, a kitchen with all appliances, and a furnished living room with a television. It became a perfect little life, filled with flowers, home-cooked feasts (rather than meals), and excellent sleep as we clung to each other tightly after making love.