October 12, 2015
Nighthawks in my Head...
This week, I wrote a story—aha! You caught me. That made it sound like my story was actually finished. But, of course, it's not. This is me you're talking to after all. I haven't gotten out my chamois yet to polish the seraphs.
So we'll try again. This week, I worked on a story that is based (in my mind) on Nighthawks. Except, in my version, the person behind the counter isn't a male line cook but a waitress. The story is actually set after the diner has closed and the waitress has gone home.
The air is cold, but she walks. The streetlights are on—but all the houses are dark. She doesn't even notice. She's used to being awake when everyone else is asleep. When she arrives at her apartment house, she meets the tenant who lives downstairs, and they connect in the late-night, early-morning hours.
My guess is that if you read the story, you probably wouldn't recognize that my inspiration is from Nighthawks. But I am solidly aware of where that story came from. The waitress smells like coffee. Her eyes are tired. There's only one shiny black button fastening her coat. She's ready to fall into bed—until she sees the young woman standing in the doorway.
The story was meant to go in a different direction. That is, the story was supposed to stop where it didn't. I'm accustomed to this by now. I rarely make the mistake of forcing the words anymore. I simply file a wayward piece and try again.
In this case, I found myself pressed up against the wall, watching as these women made love for the first time. One was curious, insatiable. The other measured and aware.
The sun will rise in their world shortly. They'll be wrapped in each other's arms. The waitress will fall asleep, succumbing finally after her long shift. When she awakes, her new lover will have made coffee for her, bringing it into the tiny bedroom on a tray.
How delicious it is to be served.