We both woke up early, the next morning because it was pretty hot in our room. We decided that using the fans in our bedroom would probably be a good idea. Bill quickly set two up, and it slowly began to cool off a little. It was clear it would be a while before it cooled down enough to sleep, and we would need to leave for the Diner by then. I was still laying on my side on the bed. My Bill carefully picked me up and helped me stand, then led me out the front door (after unlocking and opening it), and we tried to cool off. I don’t know; when Bill gently picked me up off the bed, I… It really hit me how much I needed him. It was like, all of a sudden, I was hurting for my man. It was not like I had a bad dream about a salesmoron or anything. I think it was just the gentle way he reached out to me, and gently slipped his hands around my breasts, under my arms, then carefully helped me up… I melted, maybe more. I cried in his lap as soon as we were on the swing. I think Bill had some inkling… “I will take care of you, precious” he said softly, and only once. That made me cry a little more, then calm down.
While calming down, working on relaxing in this man’s tight hug, I just had to think. When I finally found what I felt was the right word, I said quietly, sounding so vulnerable… “Bill, I think I am going to be clingy today… I really need you so much…” That was all I could say.
Bill sighed. “I will do anything I can to care for my clingy woman.” Then Bill hugged me just a little tighter and kissed my cheek. Well, I don’t think he minded clingy. I decided that was good. I decided I probably needed that. Bill was soon running his fingers through my hair. That absolutely did melt me. Maybe that was what I needed… Well, a clingy mess; that was what I thought I would be today. And, I don’t know how… “Maude, you can be clingy anytime you want. I will take care of you. You are the center of my world.” Bill said this so softly. That made us both cry for a little while. I still felt clingy though.
We had to get ready for work, and after we both were fully dressed and ready to go (locking ourselves out), Bill still stopped us at the swing for a little more cling time, he called it. He wasn’t mocking or making fun either. Bill was dead serious. Bill was taking care of his woman. That made me cry a little more. Bill drove us to the Diner in the wagon, and I sat in the middle and clinged to him. He was smiling the whole time. I think he likes clingy. I mentioned that to him, and he shook his head just a little side to side, then said “Summ–” I didn’t giggle that time, but he finished. “Maude, I love you so much. I will do anything I can to take care of you…” I sighed, and held him tightly the rest of the way to the Diner.
It was pretty hot inside the Diner too, so we had those that were already waiting stand outside just a little more while my Bill let as much of the hot out as we could. I found my pen and paper, and Bill found me, pulled me into the office, closed the door, and hugged me tightly. We stayed there a minute or two, and I tried to relax. Then we opened the door (because it was really hot in the office!), Bill turned on the AC, and we let people in and we got to work.
The lunch rush was right away. Nobody in table 1 so… Maybe half an hour later, it was nice and cool in the Diner, and our dining room was packed. The locals annex was too. Bill came out and mentioned a few times to everyone in the Diner that service would just be a little slower, since we were so busy. I was pretty sure my Bill did that for me. And I only realized then that even I was really busy, yet I was taking a lot of breaks… Well, I just had to find my Bill, I just needed to feel his arms around me. I sighed a lot in his arms. But we were, things were going a little slow because of that, and my Bill just took care of me. I don’t think anyone minded, except for the people standing outside waiting for a booth to open up. It usually didn’t take long. And Bill is real efficient about clearing, cleaning tables. I am not sure how he does that.
Things did slow down some in the afternoon. It was nice and cool, and Bill got some ice-cream, found me, then locked us in the office again. Well, the ice-cream melted. I just needed to hug Bill, to feel him hugging me. I really appreciated the ten or so minutes we spent just hugging that afternoon. I just needed to feel him close.
The dinner rush really felt like a rush, like a repeat of our lunch rush. And I realized we were seeing a lot of travellers that day. Well, it was a friday in the middle of the summer. Driving across this stinking desert didn’t seem like a vacation to me, but still. Maybe that was why we felt so busy. And I haven’t said much about salesmorons because they just blended in with the rest of the customers now. Maude was so clearly taken; I was Bill’s woman. If any of their kind tried anything, they would answer to my Bill. I think they all realized that, and left me alone. Watching my Bill take care of me, I still hoped some of them would learn… Well, their kind trying to just take from me, that really did shatter me… Bill fixed all that though. He cherishes me, makes me feel so cherished… Even thinking about that while serving one of those men… I had to go find my Bill, to hug him some… I don’t think I needed to explain. Bill’s tight hug was all I needed just then.
And it seemed like so late that night when we started cleaning. Bill normally turned the AC off when just a few were left; that was already done. There was just one local lady left, and she laughed and said “Aww, Bill, just clean around me. I’ll put off goin’ outside just a little longer.” Bill smiled and started cleaning. And again, I think Bill just knew… That night he cleaned fast, and even saved some stuff until tomorrow morning.
Startling us both, loud crying was the next thing we heard. Delores came quickly in the front door, and ran straight for me, crying buckets. We hugged right away, and I was quickly crying with her. Delores was hugging me so tightly, really clinging to me as if… Of course, I was wondering what, right away. She didn’t leave us guessing long. She managed to get out “Victor… icu… salt lake…” then “Maude, I’m so scared…”
Delores and I just stood there, hugging tightly, crying… I said a few times, the only thing I could say “Oh, Delores…” And I kept thinking about Tina and Kasey… We were both crying… clinging…
Bill turned the AC back on as soon as Delores ran in. And he said that it was the last local lady who left quickly, then came back, maybe 20 minutes later with a bunch of other people from Delores’ church. After they came, we were all hugging Delores, crying with her. Some were praying, Bill explained later. I guess one of the ladies there was a nurse. She stepped away from the group, got on her cell thing right away, and called salt lake, wherever that is, and finally found out where Victor was. Then she talked a little while. When she got off her cell, she eased her way in next to Delores and said quietly “Delores, he was lucky. Well, the good lord… It could have been a lot worse. But Victor wants you there with him.”
One of the other ladies there said quietly “I got this”, then she stepped away and worked at her cell for a few minutes, then said quietly “Your flight leaves in an hour. We gotta’ go Delores.”
Delores hugged me tightly one more time, brushed away tears, then said “Thank you Maude. I just needed…” I hugged Delores tightly one more time, and they all left. I think those ten or so people all took Delores to the place where the flights are, so she could go be with Victor. As they walked out the front door of the Diner, my Bill smiled, watching them go. “True friends” he said quietly to himself.
Then Bill reached his arms out to me, and I collapsed into tears on his shoulder. After letting me cry a bit in his arms, Bill sat me down in the booth next to the front door just long enough to turn everything off including the AC, and he held me tight as he walked us outside, and locked the front door. We walked around back, climbed into our little wagon, and my Bill drove us home. Bill unlocked the front door, opened it, then walked me to the bed while we both undressed. Well, he helped me undress; I was still crying. Then Bill helped me up, and we walked straight to the back door, opened it, then walked naked out into that amazing sea of grass in our back yard. We didn’t walk far, and Bill was quickly laying on his back again in the grass, and I curled up on top of him and cried for a while.
But I think grass does something to me, I don’t know. And we had enjoyed our grass just last night, too. The moon was a little higher and still softly blue… The grass looked amazing, Bill looked amazing, he felt amazing. The air even smelled amazing… Stretched out across my man… I… We felt amazing together that night, then we showered, and air dried (Bill said) on the swing until I fell asleep on my man.
1. Maude: Revelations is copyright 2017 by Shysage.