Flash Fiction Fridays: It's Romance Month


Our Place 
By Jeanette A. Fratto                       

I slid onto the stool at the counter of Duke’s Diner, a neighborhood eatery convenient to my office. Today I was there out of habit more than hunger. I had an important meeting this afternoon and didn’t want to go on an empty stomach, but last night’s argument with Jeffrey kept repeating in my head, killing my appetite.

We were approaching our third wedding anniversary. Instead of plans for a happy celebration we seemed to be disagreeing over too many things. Last night it was whether we should buy a house or continue renting for another year. A week ago we couldn’t agree on where to take a short vacation this summer, one we both needed badly. I loved Jeffrey and I knew he loved me but we were acting like two mismatched people heading for a divorce. 

“Do you mind passing the cream?”

I hadn’t noticed the elderly lady seated to my right, so engrossed had I been in my thoughts. “Of course,” I answered as I gave it to her.

“Thanks. Do you come here often?”

I chuckled to myself at what sounded like a pick-up line. “It’s near my work so I sometimes come here for lunch. What about you?” I really didn’t care but thought it polite to ask. 

“This is the most special place to me. The first time I came here I met my future husband. We sat next to each other just like this. When we started dating we’d meet here for lunch on our work breaks. He even proposed to me here.” She smiled at the thought. “We called it ‘our place’.” 

I gave her a quizzical look.

“I know, it’s not the most romantic place, but it meant a lot to us. I even told my husband I was pregnant with our first child at that very booth over there.” She pointed towards the back.

“How long have you been married?” I asked.

“Forty years when my husband died. Last year. A sudden heart attack. We still had so many plans. When I come here I relive such good memories. Are you married dear?”

“Yes, almost three years.”

“Oh, you’re so lucky. Still in the honeymoon phase, aren’t you?”

If she only knew.

“I’d give anything to go back again, start over. Some of the silly quarrels we had, you know, those little power struggles when you’re first married, would never happen. I’d compromise more. What’s the difference who’s right or has the better idea? You won’t even remember it months later.”

Could she read my mind?

“If you’ve got a good man, cherish him. Life is so short. Anyway, this will be my last time here. I’ve come full circle. My daughter’s convinced me to live with her and she’s 100 miles away. I leave tomorrow.”

“Thank you,” I said, tears brimming my eyes. I squeezed her hand.

Now she looked quizzical.

I left quickly. I couldn’t wait to call Jeffrey.

Jeanette A. Fratto is a Michigan transplant now living in southern California. She has bachelor’s and master’s degrees from California State University-Fullerton and worked for twenty six years with the Orange County California Probation Department. Her first novel, No Stone Unturned, is available through Outskirts Press. To learn more about Jeanette, visit her blog, JeanetteWrites.

Photo courtesy of www.brownstoner.com.


Margaret said…
What a perfect story for romance month.

Margaret Lake
Jeanette did a nice job, didn't she?

Thanks for reading, Margaret.

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