(My entry for the writing challenge, ‘Find a Muse in the Masters‘)
It was either a really early morning for some or a very late night for others. The little soda shop at the intersection was the only place open at this hour. I rested my elbows on the counter and took a sip from the mug of coffee sitting next to me, careful not smudge my lipstick or spill a drop on my favorite red dress. Philip bought it for me when we got married. It seems like ages ago now, but it has barely been a year since. As usual, our Saturday night was spent with his friends in their lavish homes, sipping expensive champagne and exchanging pleasantries with rich, monotonous people. Today we found ourselves ending our long, drawn-out night here, in a little diner. Usually Philip would never frequent such places. But in the dark of the night, his ambition and dreams of rising above the ranks wore thin and he let his mask of careful sophistication slip. It showed me that the man I married was still there, somewhere. We barely ever spoke anymore, our life together was as mundane as the counter being wiped down for what seemed like the hundredth time. I was snapped out of my reverie when Philip prodded me with his elbow. I turned to look at him curiously, but instead I locked eyes with the lone figure sitting at the far end of the counter. He looked familiar somehow, like I’d seen his face in a dream. Philip prodded me again and this time I focused on him. “Do you want some more?” he pointed at my mug, now empty. I nodded and he asked the soda jerk for another. I turned my attention back to the stranger, but his gaze was now focused on the mug in front of him. He seemed lost in thought. I took the opportunity to scrutinize him further. He wore a sharp gray suit with a matching fedora. Philip only wore the best and he looked just as well dressed as Philip, which probably meant that he was a man of money. Suddenly, it hit me. I knew this man. My mind was filled with images of a scraggly young boy with blue eyes and a dimpled smile. As if on cue, the man looked up from his mug and gazed right at me again. He must have seen the flicker of recognition in my eyes because he smiled in response, dimples popping up on either side of his mouth. My heart raced as every pent up emotion struggled to resurface, threatening my sanity. I quickly looked away and nudged Philip. “We have to go. Now.” “But hon, we just got here.” “Now, Philip!” I hissed. I impatiently grabbed his arm as he paid for the coffee. I didn’t dare look up at the man as we rushed out into the desolate street. I didn’t dare think about what was in store for me.