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The waiter’s name is Val. His hands are stained a burnished yellow from nicotine, and guitar-callused. He is bored and impatient, waiting for his shift to end. He does not write down my order - which is fair because it’s just coffee and blackberry pie, and the pie is right at hand. He slices it and slaps it on the plate; it falls over just a bit, slides, and blackberry oozes out onto the plain white plate, the color almost shocking. I write that down, and the way the steam dances over the coffee mug. The mug is smooth and unadorned, the same bone-white, and the coffee is rich and dark and bitter. The diner is a diner, no more and no less, retro-50s tube with aproned waitresses and meat loaf and pie and Val, leaning forward by the register, staring at the door. Waiting for something else.
He talks to me. I think out of sheer boredom - I’m the only customer at the bar, the only person here alone. His dark hair is frosted blond at the ends, and his eyes are seaglass-blue. He is in a band, but he worries that now that the guys have day jobs, they’ll stop playing music. He doesn’t think he’s good enough to go solo. He shrugs a lot - he has developed his own fake-casual rolling shrug, a silent “whatever”. He asks why I care, and I tell him that these are the things that make him *him*. That we are collections of information. We are what we are because our dog died or our dad left or we won the lottery or whatever. And I like to figure out what people are by examining what they’re made of.
When I close my eyes, I imagine Val made of paper, all the little strips of paper I’ll file later under “music” and “loss” and “resentment”, cross-reference him with others, see if I can figure out “loss”.
See if I can figure out data loss.
When I open my eyes, Val has gone on to the next customer. I eat my pie and write.
Meet Team Venture!
* mllelaurel is blogging for Planned Parenthood - Sponsor her!
* nevacaruso is blogging for Amnesty International - Sponsor her!
* jennaria is blogging for the Nature Conservancy - Sponsor her!
* thesilentpoet is blogging for St. Jude's. Sponsor her!
Jennaria and TheSilentPoet are last-minute additions; Verizon never showed up to fix their DSL, so we took them in rather than have them miss Blogathon.