Johnny's Diner

By Michael Gene Miller
Copyright © 1994
All rights reserved

For once in his life, Johnny was stumped. He had always known what to do in almost every situation, but this time he just didn't have a clue. She had dumped him so fast his head was swimming, and it was going to take a while to figure out the next move. Why was love so difficult?
She thought about calling him, but she was not going to give in. He made her crazy with the things he did, and he knew it. She was going to sit right there by the phone until it rang, and then she would tell him what she thought about his stupid macho mind. He was a jerk.
Johnny sat there sipping his soda and listening to the love songs playing on the jukebox. Those people had no idea what he was going through. Women just don't understand the effect they have on men. Men just don't understand why women don't understand. Johnny was feeling confused. It was like his mind was on hold and his heart was doing all the talking. He wanted his heart to shut up and let his mind get a word in edgewise, but he was on hold and he knew it.
The more she thought about it, the madder she got. He had a lot of nerve treating her the way he did. He never cared about her. He wasn't capable of caring about anyone except himself. She would be better off without him and his stupid old dog. That dog was as worthless as Johnny.
It was getting late, but he had nowhere to go. He was usually at her house by now. Tonight was going to be slow in passing. The cars seemed to speed up as they passed the diner window, as if they wanted to show Johnny what it's like to have someplace to go. I'm not going anywhere, Johnny thought to himself. I'm just going to sit here until something good happens to me. I need to just think for awhile. I need to think.
He still hadn't called. She still wondered why. Maybe she had been too hard on him. He was, after all, just a man. A man who has his faults. A man who has his ups and downs. A man who tries as hard as he can to be somebody, whether he gets approval or not. A man who needs love and kindness just as much as a small child. That's what he is, she thought. He's a child.
Johnny had been staring at one spot for so long, when he turned his gaze away he had little spots in front of his eyes. The room was hazy, and he had to blink several times before his vision cleared. When it did, he saw her. She had come to the diner knowing that he would be there. Why didn't she just leave him alone? What did she want from him? What was he going to do?
She sat down next to him on the padded bench and, for what seemed like an eternity, neither one of them said a word. Finally Johnny reached over and put his hand on hers. She squeezed his hand so lightly that he wondered if he had imagined it. Her shy smile told him that her eyes still remembered him.
Their first fight had ended without a fight. Johnny felt good as he wrapped his hand around hers, and as they both smiled, the jukebox played another love song.

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