I wrote this to enter the Vocal writing contest, but then I realized you had to pay to play and honestly, I've lost enough money to these sort of things for me to think better of it. Here is my piece with the focus being a 24/7 Diner.
We all have that place that when we close our eyes and think of it, the memory of that place comes up crystal clear. It might be the playground up the street where you learned to ride your bike with your older brother, or maybe the corner store you and your best friend ran to everyday after school to buy two sodas and a candy bar to split. As I sat in my favorite booth, the one all the way in the back by the employee exit where you could hear the music drifting from the jukebox just right, and savored a bright red slice of cherry pie while chatting with Matt, my favorite waiter, I realized that for me, that place was Maria’s Diner.
Maria’s diner was home, it was a staple of my childhood and if we’re being honest, I wouldn’t be here without it. This was the place where my parents met. According to my mother’s rendition of the tale, she and my father had been classmates, and he’d asked her there to eat lunch and study. When he realized he didn’t have enough money to buy the lunch special he’d wanted to get her, she suggested that they get fries and split a strawberry milkshake- two straws, like in the movies. It was a fantastic date according to her… until her father showed up and wanted to wring my father’s neck since no one would be good enough for his little girl. My father was always quick to add with an air of pride that grew on the family quickly though.
This diner was the place where I’d had my first slice of cherry pie and the only place I’d craved it from that day on. This place was where I’d come with my friends after school and copy each other’s homework hoping no teachers showed up for lunch. This place was where I’d gotten caught smoking a cigarette I’d lifted from my grandfather and had Maria herself call my parent’s, a blessing in hindsight. I’d had my first kiss here, the kiss was as gross as the memory was sweet. When my prom date stood me up on prom night just to show up with my best friend, I’d come here to cry, I’d studied for my college exams here at 2 a.m and I’d met my husband here.
My husband… Now he was a charming man. Kind, respectful, a hard worker, I was lucky to have him. We’d known each other before the diner of course, we’d been classmates, and he’d asked me there to study… He didn’t have enough money so… We split a- strawberry milkshake, two straws like in the movies and then my father showed up… But… why did it feel like I’d said that before? Be four? Bee… Fore-
The 80’s pop from the jukebox became a high pitched drone, the waiters froze in place, the bite of cherry pie once sweet and nostalgic turned into tasteless mush that felt like television static on my tongue, the colorful, overly decorated walls melted into black and seemed to slide to the center of the room. My heart was racing, my palms were sweaty, my palms were… silver?
“Reset Andriod 7657, looks like her artificial memories are malfunctioning.” A bodiless voice spoke from the void that I now found myself sat in alone and on the ground.
“Hello?” I was shocked by how mechanical my voice sounded to my own ears, “Is someone out there?” If there was, I didn’t see them no matter how hard I focused my eyes into the dark around me.
“I can’t seem to reset her, hold on.” The voice spoke again, but it didn’t sound like it was speaking to me.
“Is anyone out there? I can hear you… But it’s so dark.” I jumped at the metallic clanking of my feet as I clamored to stand, “Can you help me? I think I’m lost.”
“Ah, I see now, there’s a file here that shouldn’t be, I’ll delete it and we can reboot her… Wonder how that even got there.”
“Hello? I-I’m scared, can anyone hear me? I’m scared, I-m”
We all have that place that when we close our eyes and think of it, the memory of that place comes up crystal clear. It might be the playground up the street where you learned to ride your bike with your older brother, or maybe the corner store you and your best friend ran to everyday after school to buy two sodas and a candy bar to split. As I sat in my favorite booth, the one all the way in the back by the employee exit and savored a bright red slice of cherry pie while chatting with Matt, my favorite waiter, I realized that for me, that place was Maria’s Diner.
-Insomnia Scrawl 8/17/2020