The Diner

“We joke that you can always tell by the length of the nails.”

I looked down at my own, which had become long (and thus, dirty) simply out of neglect. “But I’m mostly straight,” I said, “and my nails are mostly short. I mean, they’re long now, but that’s not on purpose.”

“Adrianne. Think about it. Our hands are our dicks.” She made a hand gesture to illustrate something I’d certainly never experienced. I choked on my coffee and squealed like a seventh grader.

“That’s . . . that’s a very good point. You know, in porn, where they have the obligatory lady-touching-herself scene? And the chick has this ridiculous manicure, with the long acrylic nails that have, like, jewels glued onto them? I can never watch that shit. It actively turns me off. I won’t want to do it for hours.”

A child skipped by our booth, dragging a small white dog by the claw of a stuffed lobster.

“Seriously! That’s so horrifying! Why do they do that?”

“Well, in their defense — I read this book once, A Smart Girl’s Guide to Porn. And the author said something about these women being professionals, obviously, and the nail tips not being sharp, and how they’re not hurting themselves.”

“Ah. I think I read . . . part of that book too.”

“Yeah. It wasn’t very well-written.”

“No. I think that’s why I only read part of it, then gave up.”

“Heh, right. Such a shame. Anyway, so, there’s that I guess. But still, it’s so visually unappealing. It looks painful regardless. I wish they wouldn’t.”

A long, thin elderly man with stooped shoulders and cowboy boots slowly clacked over to our table. “More coffee for you girls?”

“Oh, no thanks!”

“Yeah, I think we’re fine.”

“So I had this fantasy, about [X,] the other day. It really weirded me out. We did [scandalous!], and then [extended scandalous!]. Oh my gosh.”

“You did [scandalous!] with [X]?!” I yelled.

“I know, right? Sometimes I don’t know where my mind comes up with these things. It goes on, like, tangents.”

“I almost never think about faces.”

“Really?”

“Well it’s kind of a funny thing, you know, thinking about men masturbating –”

Suddenly her growing wide eyes met mine.

She whispered: “Adrianne!

I stopped, and looked around.

You could have heard the proverbial pin drop. The child was sitting on the floor, slowly petting the now-sleepy dog. His grandparents hovered over their toast, sipped heavy mugs of coffee, careful to move their silverware silently on the plates. Linoleum peeled. A faded cardboard cut-out of Marilyn Monroe gleamed in the corner, some kid’s model airplane suspended forever above her. In front of us, a set of grey heads were nearly motionless, frozen in their seats like terrified mannequins.

Without our voices barraging the air, the silence preserved the diner like hardening amber.

“Oh god,” I whispered, “. . . were we really being that loud?”

“Uh, yes. Yes we were.”

“And we were just talking about –”

“I think we forgot,” she whispered back, “I think we just acted very, very city.”

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1 Comment

  1. Hence, the line “I’ll have what she’s having” was born in the diner scene in the movie When Harry Met Sally…

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