The Diner

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The lights of The Diner stood out majestically, a stark contrast against the black veil of the night. Lit dimly only with the bleak reminders of stars, the universe shone a half-hearted attempt to assert it’s existence for any who might be looking into the sky that night. I stumbled into The Diner, not because it was some beacon shining in the darkness, but because it was the only place open this late, and I really wanted pie. I had stopped searching for reasons or answers long ago.

The Diner was a refuge, a half-way house, a shelter, a weigh-station, a sanctuary, for lost souls. Some were on their way someplace else, some had just returned. Others would stay at The Diner indefinitely.

For those like myself who loathe small talk and on a night light this could barely muster the energy or necessary social skills to place a simple food order, The Diner was amazingly accommodating. My piece of cherry a-la-mode sat ready and waiting for me at a solitary table, as if they already knew I would come.

Everyone here had lost something. Perhaps like me, they had lost themselves, or their mind, or their love, or their pride, or a child, or a limb, or something else undefinable. ┬áIt didn’t matter the reason.

Though we all craved solitude, there was still a small part left in each of us, a shred of humanity, that acknowledged the desire for human contact. So we came to The Diner, to be alone together.

Should you want something to read during your visit, The Diner had a bookshelf that seemed to have a never-ending supply of literature. No matter how many people removed books from its shelves, they never went bare. You could walk up to the books and find something you had always wanted to read, even if you couldn’t remember making the conscious choice to want to read it.

The Diner existed in a world of perpetual darkness. Even if it seemed as though the night had gone on long enough, the sky would never show a sign of daybreak during your stay.

Maybe once you left The Diner, the world could turn away from the moon and face the sun, but time didn’t exist in whatever place The Diner called home.

No one who visited ever asked for directions, they weren’t lost in that since. Or perhaps, even if they were, it no longer mattered once they set foot inside.

There was nothing that could keep you from leaving The Diner, except your own desire to stay and allow the night to commiserate with the same empty sort of blackness that seemed to bring your soul on this journey in the first place.

Even if some people don’t want to admit it, almost everyone has visited The Diner at some point in their lives. They may only stay for a moment, they may stay for an eternity. Some may come for an occasional visit as an escape. Others keep finding themselves at The Diner even though they don’t remember going out in search for it.

For as foreboding as it sounds, The Diner is not intended to cause pain or serve as any kind of existential hell. It simply is.

There is no judgement, only peace. Perhaps not peace in the way that some might see that word and think “abounding joy” or “happiness.” But rather peace at finally being able to just exist and not have to give reason to anyone, even yourself, as to why.

It’s more a place where you’re finally allowed to exist without really existing at all. For those who haven’t experience it, they aren’t aware of the calming effect of a place with such an ephemeral┬ánature.

This is an in-between. Without outwardly acknowledging it’s intentions, The Diner helps people understand their emotions, specifically feelings of a darker nature. The feelings that aren’t as socially acceptable. The feelings that are hard to voice out loud, or the ones that are so convoluted you couldn’t decipher them with the best code-breaker.

The Diner gives you the place to simply be. It doesn’t push any emotions on you. It doesn’t say, “you can’t feel this way.” Rather, it allows you to acknowledge that you do. No one at The Diner ever judged me for eating pie at 2am.

I won’t need to stay at The Diner forever. But i’ll stay as long as I want to.

Besides, the coffee never gets cold.

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Over // Under

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Undercaffeinated, I wake with sleep crusting circles around my eyes

“Overjoyed” to be awake before the sun

Underwhelmed at the thought that almost everyone I know is still asleep

Overtly expressing conflicting emotions, as eyes tell the truth even when a smile lies

Undetermined conclusions generate confusion as I strive for a homeostasis of sorts instead

Over the next hill, we might see the sun

Under the guise of someone who has any idea where they’re going

Over burdened and underprepared, somehow we’ll still reach our destination

Overcast skies shroud the hearts of those who miss the sun, but bring smiles to those who love the rain

Understanding that everyone is different

Overnight, all consuming emotions melt away when greeted with the rise of the sun

Understated, you balk slightly at the ease of this renewal

Over and over you pondered that thought, bringing no release

Under the horizon, the sun waited patiently knowing it held your answers

Overwhelmed, tears carry your frustrations out of your mind, leaking through holes in your eyes like rainwater in the corner the kitchen

As a kid, you played in raindrops indoors while everyone else had to go outside

Undermining the authority of your ego was the best choice you ever made

Over it, under it, it doesn’t matter now anyway

You’re going through.

Writing prompt: Cigar (10 minutes)

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He puffed at his cigar in thought.
It wasn’t the sort of absent minded puffing of an old man tired from years of strenuous labor, but the sort of intentional puffing spurred by a mind much more active than his wizened appearance might suggest.

He peered at me from beneath spectacles that only made him appear more alluring.

“Whatchu staring at child?” He laughed at me.

I fought back a blush and managed a controlled “You’re just interesting,” in response.

He reminded me of a bygone era. One which people can’t live at present, but can only be experienced in dreams and memory.

His laugh lines smiled incessantly, suggesting his life had been filled with unsurpassed joviality.

But I knew better.

More often than not, those who appear happiest have often dealt with tremendous hardship.

My mind raced with curiosity intent upon discovering his story.

His right had ashed his cigar while his left toyed purposefully with an intricate topper perched on his cane.

Exquisitely carved, it looked as though this piece of wood had a more riveting life story than my own.

“This thing?” He caught me admiring his walking stick.

“I found it. Or it found me.

If you were expecting a heroic story, might I suggest you go create your own.”

He puffed again at the cigar.

Writing Prompt: Day #4 – Curb (5 minutes)

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My tire hit the curb. Embarrassed, I tried to back out and fix my mistake, but I just ended up adding to my embarrassment by making an even bigger scene in trying to back over the curb again.

I was thankful that it appeared as though no one else saw my blunder. I hated the feeling of embarrassment, especially in public.

I’m so easily embarrassed. People often remark about how easily my cheeks take on the reddish tint of embarrassed warmth at the slightest suggestion of anything provocative or private.

Whoever still thinks that shyness or introversion is something I can control is sorely mistaken and deserves a swift kick in the rear.

Or at least a subtle suggestion that their opinion is a crock of horse shit.

It seems as though more people than ever relate to the torture of living with social anxiety, but somehow the idea of not being alone with my anxiety isn’t terribly reassuring.

It makes me anxious to think about the fact that other people are anxious.

I wouldn’t want anyone to have to deal with that kind of stress.

Am I supposed to be grateful that I’m not the only one who suffers?

Hell, man, I wish none of us had to suffer. I want to alleviate pain, not spread it around.

I’ve started smoking more weed lately. I don’t know if it actually helps, or if I’ve just convinced myself it helps.

Writing Prompt: Day #2 – Screwdriver (90 seconds)

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You aren’t using it correctly. It’s a phillips not a flathead. and no amount of shoving is going to suddenly make the wrong screwdriver work here. Not ever. It’s just like life, you know. If something is simply the wrong instrument for the job, it’s never going to work quite right. Don’t have expectations that extend beyond the initial task assigned.

Writing Prompt Day #2: Bathroom Mirror (5 minutes)

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I’m not sure which I hate more, the reality of my body or simply the reflection of it in the bathroom mirror. And it isn’t so much a hatred as a misunderstanding. It’s taken me most of my life to come to terms with my body as it is. That it’s malleable, yes, but for the most part, this is the vessel with which I must live my life. The mirror lies. The mirror tells me I’m not good enough. But this is an opinion I would never make without the ability to compare my vessel to others. And this is something I could never do with out staring, vacantly into my bathroom mirror. It’s as if I’m looking for flaws that don’t really exist. I’m only picking out minor details because it seems as though I’m not allowed to love myself. There’s an odd stigma attached to finding something about your body that you dislike. That there must be some aspect of themselves that everyone dislikes. However, there must be an aspect of themselves that everyone loves as well. I’ve been too cerebral about this. My body is more than the reflection in the mirror. My skin is as soft as it is strong. I take it for granted how much work my skin does holding in my organs and veins. I take for granted how good it feels to be touched by someone I love. And how that touch awakens new