The woman sat at the easy to clean Formica topped table, Earl Grey teabag in her chunky diner mug steaming gently beside her notebook.
She crossed her right leg over her left and dangled her navy Birkenstock from her toe like an inexperienced mother with a new baby.
Looking up from the journal she was writing, Evelyn landed back in today. She’d been coming here for years, 15 probably, and she shivered as those years shot passed her inner eye with a vertiginous tilt.
Gone were the high heels, bone china cups, glossy magazines. Along with Adam. Long gone.
A smell of hot fat wafted as the chef patron ran past with a polystyrene burger box he was delivering along the row of shops.
Evelyn smiled tentatively to herself. The Spotify random mix moved along to tell her that “the times they are a changing”. Very true Mr. Dylan. And yet. And yet what had changed for her really?
She was still here in the Tudor Rose Diner, still writing – yes be honest – still writing about, thinking of and responding to Adam.
The man was everywhere. He invaded every relationship. He permeated every memory, every action, even when she was doing the rebellious opposite this time.
She’d been in therapy for years. All that had changed was that she now had names and labels for stuff. To be fair, there was no longer a gaping hole where her innards should be, but this new streamlined well-labeled and filed hole was still a bottomless pit.
She saw Adam and His Aspects everywhere. He was on TV, starring role of course, even in the Game shows she watched to fill the time till Strictly or athletics was on. Then she could put herself into somebody else’s life and travel with them for a while. She hated the weakness that had had her following Bake Off to C4, unprincipled addict that she was.
She looked up, eyes tracking the people in the street outside.
“Did I really see Lilian that day? Have I told myself I did so often that I believe my own hallucinations?
“Bloody Norah, get a grip woman.” The words were the nearest thing to kindness she could manage right now.
She gathered up her things and left the café – sorry diner- by the back door and got into her car.
On the roof of the nearby library, a shiny black Raven watched with interest.
The wind blew the last of the dry leaves off the trees in her street. Underground the new life thought about the long wait and wriggled under the rich soil for another winter before returning to her Mother’s world.
The small white shoot relaxed into the dark organic topsoil from the garden centre. At last it (she?) had been planted into fertile material and could contemplate growing.
This soil was excellent, just enough water and air gaps and tasty bits to eat. (If only she weren’t so tired.)
As the days passed she got less interested in her favorite hobby – thinking and more comfortable with drowsing. It was gloriously dark here. She hadn’t enjoyed having her paleness exposed to the sunlight and was glad to feel the gentle pressure of the leaves as they fell from the nearby tree, the top branches of which contained two skinny girls with pockets full of sugar.