Waking up crying softly…
I used to wake up crying softly a lot. Sometimes it was because I had a terrible nightmare… It was usually because something terrible had really happened before; to me, at the Diner… It was… My life seemed one big hopeless, monotonous disaster… And I cried softly because my head punished me brutally if I cried any harder, and even that was reason enough to cry more…
I woke up crying softly… tears of unspeakable joy… Bill was right behind me, and his arm was around my waist, and his hand hung limply over my belly. And, based on baring his soul yesterday, I absolutely knew that he would never, ever leave me, if there was absolutely anything he could possibly do to prevent it. And, even this… My precious Bill would care for me, hug me, serve me, and do anything he had to, in order to take care of me, even my smallest fears or desires… the gentlest caress to the horrible bully salesmoron. My Bill would take care of all that and more… I was crying softly because I didn’t want to awake this precious man up… I was so amazingly happy… I didn’t even think it was possible to feel this happy. Even when I was that hopeless zombie eyed food service worker, I don’t ever remember even seeing anyone who felt like this… I could thank my amazing husband for every bit I could savor… From the time he saved me from that rattle-snake, I think I was hooked… Well, wait… Without even knowing it, he rescued me from my pounding head, maybe it was that. It didn’t matter, I didn’t want to ever leave him either.
But he did wake up. We were still, well we didn’t want any clothes on last night. I… Maybe we just don’t need them much, even if they do make… And I could tell Bill was waking because… When I thought Bill’s eyes were open (I guessed), I pulled away from him quite a bit, then rolled over onto my back. I did a morning stretch, slowly, for my man to see. I carefully curved this part of my body, or stretched that part out… It was all for my Bill. And towards, the end, I could tell my Bill was just taking it all in. I smiled.
Bill got up on his hands and knees, laid on top of me at an angle, hugged me tightly… and burst into tears… At first, I wondered what could possibly… But he only said it, just once… “Almost missed…” I was quickly crying too, and we hugged each other tightly as we cried… As much as we enjoyed what we had now… Like two ghost ships passing in the blackest night… less than a month ago… Bill was a beatup outcast man, heading into the desert to die… I was that hopeless zombie food service worker, just trying to drag myself through another day, wondering how much longer I could… Edna’s friends use the word miracle quite a bit. I think it absolutely was that. I also think that, as long as we live, that harrowing spectre, that we almost missed… each other… We would never forget that. How on earth… And, after a while, Bill picked the top half of his body up, looked into my eyes and said “Oh, Maude, I love you so much…” Then he hugged me again, and we cried together some more.
We both knew we had to go to work today, so we worked on calming down. This would be our first day at the Diner as husband and wife. I smiled at that thought. And I said quietly “Husband, this will be our first married day at work.” Bill smiled too, and kissed me. Then we got up. Still completely naked, I followed Bill around as he collected clean clothes for both of us for the day. Then we headed back into our room, and took turns watching each other getting dressed. Bill dressed first, and I sat on the edge of the bed and watched my man. When Bill pulled his jeans up over his manliness, I said “Boo…” and Bill just smiled.
After Bill was dressed, he eased back into the rocking chair and told me to take my time. Then he smiled. Before getting anything on, I walked over and jumped in his lap, and we hugged and kissed briefly. I know my Bill responded just from that! “Maude, you are very beautiful” he said quietly. But I did go back over to the bed and get dressed. Bill lovingly brushed my hair, then put it up into those two ponytail things, then he said “Boo…” And we brushed our teeth too. Sneakers on, we grabbed the flashlight, locked the door and walked to the Diner.
It was already a warm day. Bill and I walked slowly, arm in arm, enjoying just being next to each other. “Yes…” I thought to myself. “I could do this every day… forever…” And Bill again stopped and picked one of those beautiful white and gold flowers from those stringy plants, and worked it carefully into my hair. Well, Kacey and Tina said these were my colors… Then Bill hugged me again and we kissed briefly. Our neighbors drove by during that kiss, and they didn’t even bother stopping.
When we got to the Diner, we were still walking the same way, until we were around the front and saw, well quiet a few people waiting. And it was still early! We didn’t mind; a bunch of people were there that helped us get married. We hugged just about everyone, I think. I didn’t cry until I hugged Delores… She has become such a good friend. It was still early, and we unlocked the door, got everything ready, then told everyone they could come in.
Bill motioned me over to him. He was at the order up shelf, looking into the kitchen. There was a lot of cooking smoke. I guess the cook got here early too, and was getting the grill ready. Well, he was waving smoke away from his face almost constantly. But even with a fan at the now open back door… Well, the smoke haze was so bad it was starting to come through this small opening into the rest of the Diner. Bill looked over at me and said quietly “Do you want to come, honey?” I smiled and took his hand. We walked through the swinging door, into the kitchen, still holding hands.
The cook smiled at us, while still using his free hand to wave some smoke from in front of him. “Oh, hi, love birds” he said. Well, we were standing at the end of the grill. Bill reached up, and did something to a switch thing on the hood above the grill. Something else up high on the roof made that same, well, growling noise. The smoke quickly cleared. “Oh, wow! Oh wow! OH WOW! You fixed the grill vent fan! Oh, wow! This is great! I can cook forever now!” He quickly hugged Bill right away, and I guess for men, that is… Well, the cook was very pleased! He hugged me too briefly. But he said quietly “I am so happy for you, Maude. You really are such a sweet girl. You deserve a man like this.” Bill blushed. And I wasn’t sure I really deserved Bill, but I clearly needed him desperately…
Bill took my hand again, and led me back out to the dining room. “Honey, people need to eat” Bill said quietly, then he kissed me on the cheek. That was my cue, I guess. Nobody at table 1, so I started at table 2 and got to work. Well, all I had to do was take orders, anyway. I spent quite a bit of time that morning talking with locals mostly, and a few travelers. I… really enjoyed that. I was learning to be able to ENJOY that… It didn’t feel like work really. And with Bill quietly moving into and out of my field of view, kisses, hugs at calm times… I was just so relaxed. Then the lunch rush hit… Little changed, I just took more orders, and Bill ran around more, delivering food and clearing tables and doing dishes. After the lunch rush, Bill and I actually took a break, and sat together at a booth and had some lunch together. We both ate a whole burger, but shared our soda. Well, we split an order of fries too.
It was while we were sitting there enjoying some peace together, that, well, I don’t know… I paniced I guess, and noticed that the windows were all closed, and we had forgot to put any fans out. Well, that was Bill’s job, but… “Oh, my goodness! Bill, the fans, we forgot…” Bill just smiled at me, and I then realized that I was actually a little cool, right now. I smiled back at my man, this man who would do anything he could to take care of me, to protect me… I wanted to cry… But I looked lovingly at my man, and said “You took care of that, didn’t you…”
Bill hugged me tightly, then kissed me. “I played with the air conditioner. It is still stinking hot outside, though.” Well, I did cry. It felt absolutely amazing in here, and I knew, what… I heard someone say it was so hot you could fry an egg on the sidewalk. That’s what it is like in this area during the summer. It wasn’t hot here in the Diner at all. Our customers would REALLY appreciate that… And, maybe word travelled fast. We had a lot of locals come in and relax with a soda and fries that afternoon. Before we got back to work, Bill mentioned we needed to talk about the AC (we really had that!) tonight after everyone else was gone.
With the AC running and the grill hood vent fan working, none of the windows of the Diner were opened, none of the doors were open. But, serving a table next to a front window in the middle of that afternoon, I saw the delivery truck drive past, and knew it would soon be backing in behind the Diner. I used to have to take care of that myself, so I had developed a good ear for that sound. The truck got turned off, but the thing on the front of where the food was, it was loud, when they used it. None of that mattered today. Thanks to my Bill, our AC had it so cool inside the Diner… But, I remembered what happened last time. Bill and I were married now, and the Diner was slow, so I grabbed Bill and my soda and sat down at an empty table. Bill was cleaning up a nearby table, and I just said his name softly, and he was quickly at my side. I was at the edge of the seat, and he pulled me up against him. I just melted. Then I said calmly “Delivery truck is here.” I didn’t say anything more. I was Bill’s woman, and this was his… He would take care of this, take care of me.
Bill answered immediately, seriously “Stay put.” He kissed my cheek, then turned quickly and headed out back. I guess he remembered too. Bill’s intention to shield me from… anything… I just sighed, sipped soda, and looked out the front window…
Fifteen minutes later “Hey Maude, what’s up?” It was the same delivery truck driver from last week… from the last year or so. I recognized his voice, and even waited some before I turned very slowly around. I was in no hurry. I had no interest. I was so completely taken… And by the time I could actually face him, I watched as my Bill walked quickly out of the kitchen door towards us. I didn’t even say anything to this guy. I didn’t… That would be Bill’s job. As Bill sat down next to me, I moved to make room for him at the exact same time. Then I turned slowly away, and looked back out the Diner window again, as my Bill put his arm around my shoulder and hugged me close. I sighed. I was pretty sure that my Bill…
“Our shipment is in, you can go now” Bill said to the driver… This driver was the same guy who once called me simply “Zombie…”
The guy didn’t move. After maybe half a minute, Bill said “Son, if you like ladies, take some time and learn how to be a man, and take care of them first.” That’s all Bill said, and he said it calmly, gently. The other guy didn’t say anything, but quickly left. I never saw him here in the Diner again. He was our delivery driver, but that was Bill’s… And I was Bill’s woman now. Nothing else really mattered.
Later that afternoon, Bill had an idea. As this little town dwindled away, Edna had closed off a part of the dining room. She called it the ‘annex’, and closed it off so she had fewer tables to cover, to clean, etc. Well, there were 10 more booths behind that sliding wall thing. As I watched, Bill slid the wall back open, waited for the dust to settle, grabbed his cleaning stuff, and cleaned a few years dust off the tables, the seats, the partitions he called them, everything he could… That took a while. Then he got that ‘Please Wait to be seated’ sign that we never use. Bill made a new sign on a piece of white notebook paper. It read ‘Soda and Fries ONLY’ Then, at the bottom he put in parenthesis ‘Locals’. Then he put that sign where the middle of that sliding wall used to be. I just smiled, and a bunch of the local ladies got up and moved immediately. Bill walked back over, and said quietly “Sweetie, tables 21 through 30 are for me to take care of.” Then he gave me a hug. “That’s the locals hangout annex” he said softly. I did cry for a few minutes. Yes, Edna would have loved this man too… And, with the air conditioning working… The Local’s Annex stayed busy the rest of that day and far beyond.
A salesmoron did come in though, that monday, also later in the afternoon. I didn’t remember him, but I guess he remembered me. He said his name was Dan, and that we used to be friends. And this all happened as I asked him what he wanted to order, a few times. He ignored my questions, and talked about what he wanted, me. I didn’t need to go find Bill. And, as I said before, I think Bill is increasingly able to sense what I need, even before I can say anything. He walked up next to me, and said “Honey, this is my table, thanks.” Then he kissed my cheek, and I headed to the order up shelf to get Delores’ special order. I sat next to Delores a little while as my man took care of me. Dan got his food, ate, then left. I didn’t have to talk to that man any more. Though they terrorized me for months, for almost a year, salesmorons were just not my problem any more. Bill saw to that. And Bill squeezed into the booth next to me for a few minutes after Dan left, as I was talking to Delores. Bill hugged his bride tightly the whole time. From my vantage point now, married to Bill, well, forever… Edna was right, those salesmorons were self consumed piranha. I was so glad I trusted Edna about that.
Dinner rush came and went. The cook was evidently making remarkable progress with the food; orders were coming up pretty quick. I guess not having to choke on all that smoke… And the only thing I did now was take more orders and talk to a few more locals. It just reminded me that me helping Edna, that helped her to relax and enjoy the people in the town she loved so much. Tears did flow briefly, and Bill seemed to know, and just hugged me for a few minutes.
The cook did his cleaning and was out the door and gone faster than I have ever seen. When it was just Bill and I, Bill asked that I show him the money boxes in the kitchen. He explained that, running the AC and the grill vent fan would probably double or triple how much we pay for a month of electric. Bill was just concerned. He didn’t want to change something that the Diner couldn’t afford. And Bill remembered these two boxes from my journal entry about the Diner that we had typed in yesterday. It was just Bill and I here, and the lights in the kitchen were off, with just a little light coming from the dining room through the order up shelf. Aside from the fact that I wanted to… I showed Bill the stack of boxes, all marked ‘records’ (most really were old bills and such), tucked deep under the counter that the cook puts prepped burger fixings on. Bill quickly pulled the change box out first. It was half full of coins. Bill put the top back on the coins box, then pulled out the box with actual bills, and put it on top of the change box. Unlike the change box, the bills in this box were carefully stacked according to size, 1’s, 5’s, 10,s and 100’s. Edna did that, and I did the same, carefully. Most of the stacks were 100’s, I knew that much. Bill slipped the lid off that box, took one look, then said “Wow…”
I asked right away “Is that a good wow or bad wow?”
Bill carefully put the box full of bills back on the floor where it came from. Bill hugged me close, then leaned us both up against the sink. I melted. Well, maybe a little more. Bill said quietly “There is probably fifty, sixty thousand dollars in that box, maybe more. I think the Diner can afford the AC and making the cook’s life a LOT easier.” And I just remembered again. Bill helping the cook, helping the customers… Bill was helping me. I just smiled, and tried to do a replay on the day. This man lived out true friendship every chance he got. Bill tried to help everybody! I hoped I could learn to do the same.
The change box was still out on the floor. It was half full of coins thrown in randomly. It was heavy, for me anyway. After we hugged for a few minutues, Bill pulled away, and moved the coin box back up on top of the box full of various bills, back where it came from. But he took the top off again before doing anything. He pulled out a piece of notebook paper with a picture on it, asked what it was, then was quickly working hard to avoid crying. It was that little girl Camille’s vivid picture of a horse with wings standing up on it’s hind legs. Bill could only hold back the tears for a little while more. I pulled the picture gently out of his hand, and dropped it back into the coin box. Well, at least I knew where that amazing picture was now. And Bill had no way of knowing; we had not done that journal entry yet. Bill was quickly crying on my shoulder, and he cried for a while. He said twice “I’m just not ready for…” I would like to have put that amazing picture back next to the register now, since I doubted a nightmare would ever bother me again with Bill close. But it seemed like he needed me to wait on that, and that was fine. I had no clue why this was hard for him, but it didn’t matter. Like I have said before, those few times he had needs, I was so happy to help him any way I could. I think that was one of those times.
Still, I turned Bill so he was facing me, wrapped my arms around his waist, and pulled him close, my body up against his, his manliness up against my lady area. Bill slowly calmed down as we hugged and kissed, there in the dim light from the dining room for a few minutes. Then my Bill; I felt him. It was time to go home. Well, maybe just a few more minutes…
Mostly recovered, Bill still did the cleaning first. I followed him around like my life depended on this man, because it did. Soon enough, we had the flashlight going, as we walked slowly home, hugging tightly. “Bill, I could do this with you the rest of my life…” I said this quietly, then wiped tears away.
Bill stopped us, and we hugged. “Maude, I will gladly do that, if that is what you want.” I… My Bill… I expected nothing less, and I knew he meant exactly what he said. We kissed briefly, then we resumed our trip home. Once inside, Bill sat me on the bed, and took both our clothes off. Well, he took his off first, so I could watch him take mine off. Oh my goodness… But it was shower time! Oh my goodness even more! My Bill, in the shower with me… We showered first, and my Bill washed his then my hair. Then we just hugged in the shower a little more than briefly… I… had been waiting all day to enjoy my man, and I wondered if my Bill knew this… Maybe he was waiting, maybe he needed this now too. Well, Bill knew how to set me on such amazing fire… And Bill held onto one of the racks in the shower with one arm and had his other arm around me as we felt such amazing pleasure… And when I could no longer stand up, Bill managed to get me out of the shower, and sat me down on the toilet seat. Then he lovingly dried me off, picked me up again, and carried me to the swing. Well, he turned the porch light on just to make sure, then turned it back off. A little light was shining out from the bathroom anyway. My man hugged me close and loved me… Even after he had taken care of my need for the ‘s’ word, maybe both our needs, I don’t know. I cried in his lap as he hugged me for the longest time. Maybe we cried together. When I started to fall asleep on Bill, he gently carried me into our room, laid me on the bed, went back out and locked everything up, then laid on his side behind me. He said it took little coaxing to get me close up against him. He said I sighed slowly, then fell back asleep.
Back to work… If this was what work was like for me now, I could live with that… with Bill… forever…
1. Maude: Revelations is copyright 2017 by Shysage.