On a Snowy Sunday at the Odd Cafe

On a Snowy Sunday at the Odd Cafe

On a cold gray November day, he felt trapped inside his small apartment. He walked to the windows that overlooked Steele Street. Down below, an occasional car passed by slushing wet snow onto the empty sidewalk. The wet snow kept people inside.

He had homework but didn’t feel like doing it. During the week, he studied until midnight every night. His mind deserved a break, he thought.

He grabbed his long wool coat and scarf from the hall closet and walked downstairs and out into the street. As he walked under the dripping leaves that hung over the sidewalk, he scrunched down inside his heavy coat, took another wrap of the scarf, and stamped his soaked shoes.

The world seemed deserted on a Sunday afternoon in St. Simon. With no destination in mind, he walked downtown. Even the sidewalks downtown were empty. There were a few people inside the taverns, but he didn’t feel like having a beer. He continued on until he found himself outside the movie theatre. It didn’t matter what was showing, at least he’d be able to warm up.

The theatre was warm and dark and inside he forgot about the wet snow outside. He enjoyed the movie and once outside again, wrapped in his wool coat and scarf, everything seemed changed. The streets were still empty and the snow had stopped or seemed less noticeable under the glow of the streetlights. Suddenly he was overcome by hunger and he looked for a café. On the corner, he walked into a small café. It was empty. Strange, he thought, since it seemed like such a warm place. Sitting at a table in the corner, he looked around until a waitress walked over with a menu and pitcher of water. She smiled at him as she poured water into a glass and asked if she could get him anything else to drink?

He picked up the menu to look at the beer selection. A pilsner, he said. She said she’d be right back with it. Thank you, he said smiling up at her.

After she left, he looked around again. She returned with his beer and asked if he knew what he wanted? Wanted? He looked up at her. Oh, I’m sorry. He picked up the menu again. How about a hamburger, he said looking down at the menu.

With fries? she asked. He noticed her small hands.

Yes, fries would be fine, thank you.

He took a drink of the pilsner. It was cold and good and he took another drink and looked around. He wondered why the place was empty. He guessed people had not wanted to come out in the wet snow. Strange, he thought, because usually the first snow of the season brought them out in hordes. But not today. Strange, he said out loud. There wasn’t much chance anyone would overhear him.

When she came back with his hamburger, he ordered another beer. He would have liked it if the waitress had stayed awhile at the table, but he couldn’t hold her. Even though the place was empty, she hurried off. When he took a bite of the hamburger, he knew he wasn’t hungry after all. He picked at the fries and finished his beer.

The waitress asked if everything was all right when she set down his beer. Yes, it’s perfect, he said. Quiet tonight, isn’t it?

Yes, she said. Sundays usually are.

Hmm, he said, I’d think people would be out in hordes on Sundays, especially with the first snow of the year.

She looked around. He thought about asking her to sit down, but he wasn’t sure it was appropriate. She wasn’t busy, why shouldn’t she sit down for a while? He asked her if she wanted to. She turned, looking back at the door that led to the kitchen. On the wall next to the door, he noticed the clock: 7:30.

Listen, the place closes at nine, she said, do you want to hang around until then and maybe grab a beer somewhere?  I might be able to get off a little early.

Sure, he said, I’d like that. I don’t have anywhere to be. He laughed.

Great, she said. I’ll try to be as quick as I can.

No rush, he said.

Walking away from him, she looked like a dancer. He hadn’t noticed it before. He wondered if she were a dancer. In St. Simon, there’s probably not much call for dancers. But what was he? A student who dreamed of becoming a writer. A dancer and a writer in St. Simon. The world is a strange place, he thought. A very strange place.

He shifted in his chair to look out at the snow coming down again in the glow of the streetlights that lined the empty sidewalk along the main street in this small college town in the middle of nowhere. He smiled to himself. The snow might continue through the night and in the morning the world would look different under a blanket of snow. By the end of tomorrow, the sun might have returned and the snow would be gone and today would be just a memory of a movie and a burger and a beer in a small, lonely café with a waitress who moved like a dancer.

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  2. I should never have begun reading your work because now I can’t seem to stop. There’s a tune in this one… a very light, happy, heartfelt tune with a lot of wonder.

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