I came into the same restaurant every Tuesday morning at 9:30. I got the same server every time. She always had a certain smile on her lips when I sat at a booth. I liked the warmth of the sun, though, it was sparse in the Northwest. You know, I always paid with my debit card in hopes she would catch my name.

Normally, for me, I’d be brash and bold enough to introduce myself to anyone I wanted to get to know. But it was different with this situation. I have become gun-shy with women. I figured that this would be like all the other disappointments. We’ll have a great conversation, I’ll ask her out. And without a second thought, she’d pop off that one answer I’m so sick and tired of…

My apologies. I shouldn’t carry on so. Plus, I ought to tell you who I am. How rude of me. Cleo. Cleo Hernandez.

I’m not one to brag, but I will tell you that there was a time when I could get most any woman I wanted. But, that was always off in far away lands. In this country, women are a different breed compared to European women. I don’t understand women in this country, but, I don’t try to change them either. Just not my place.But back to my story.

Ahh, Marna. Marna’s smile was a great way to start off my day. Like I said, she slings slop, as she likes to call it. She always has something cheery to say to everyone in the restaurant. She usually didn’t care what she wore to work. It was a small Mom and Pop restaurant. Nobody wore uniforms.

Well, Marna and I would talk as time permitted. One day, I slipped her my phone number with explicit orders not to lose the paper. I did it because she told me how handsome I look, but not in so many words. But still. A woman compliment me! Unheard of in this country. So, she got my number and I waited my socially acceptable three days. No phone call. I showed her. I went to another small restaurant just down the street.

When I came back two weeks later, Marna didn’t even say “hi” to me. It was like she had been rehearsed the line for all the time I was gone.

“Never give me paper with important information on it, …Guaranteed, it’s gonna get lost.”

As you can imagine, I was very put off. She tried to flirt her way back, When I paid my bill, she slapped me in the arm. I hardly noticed it. Then she flips me off and apologizes about it and said. She doesn’t know what kind of bird that is. Perhaps she’ll call it a Marna Bird, maybe.

I walked out, Marna called out, “You’re mean.”

My response, “You have no idea.”

The weird thing about it is that we now carry on almost like it never happened. I say ‘almost’ only because I now keep some distance. I want to start over. I want to see if that action was a normal way of her personality, or it was a strange moment.

I got a few extra days off in a couple weeks. We’ll see how it will go.


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