Strength in a Stranger

The silence in the car between Robert and Megan was deafening. There was nothing left to say that could be of any substance after being together for the past 20 years.

They had been traveling in the car for sixteen hours, and the highway seemed like a long stretch of road with no ending in sight. Megan looked out the window and would take in the scenery as if it seemed to whisk by as a moment in time. At least this trip was mildly interesting since most adventures prior for Megan and Robert were considered banal by the usual idea of what a trip should be. While Robert was annoyed, since they were forced to detour off the highway due to construction, Megan was grateful for this change in plans as she would have an opportunity to observe the little towns and cities of the state. This was exciting to her since all Megan could register was a constant blur usually driving by them at seventy-five miles an hour. Robert always wanted to rush their trips. Everything was set as an agenda that needed to be followed and only stopping for gas or food which was always “to go” Rather simply, it was all gas no brakes.

The detour took them into a little town that would have been missed along a highway route. Robert pulled into to the first gas station he saw. Megan stepped out to stretch her legs and she checked the time on her phone, it was 8:30 pm. She was tired and hungry. As Robert filled the car with gas, Megan said to him “I’m going across the street to get a cup of coffee, do you want anything”? Robert answered “No, but make it quick, I want to get back on the road and make up for the time we lost getting off the highway.” Megan didn’t respond to Robert. However, within her head a thought arose within her mind; “Make up for lost time? What does that mean? How can you lose time? Time is time! How it’s used doesn’t matter you can never get it back.” She started towards the diner and stopped to look both ways as she crossed the railroad tracks. Everything was clear on this gloomy summer night, including the tracks themselves. The diner itself was family owned, and anyone could tell it has been for quite some time. It glistened with nostalgia and carried the sweet sense of the 60’s within its preserved premises. She arrived at the diner’s well-lit front door and walked in; she scanned the room. Megan could see it was full of customers, while the night was slowly coming to a close, this diner definitely was not.

Some were together conversing enjoying the company of their own banter, while others were on their computer with notebooks who she assumed were students, most likely cramming for whatever exams they have on the horizon. Along with families who were out for a milkshake with kids making a mess and moms and dads savoring the fact that their only kids for so long. She looked at the board and saw something different, a lavender latte. She pondered, “Maybe this was just what I need to get through next leg of this trip.” She sighed and ordered her drink, in which the staff was more than friendly on accommodating her order and she proceeded to step off to the side as she waited. Her eyes navigated towards the window only to see impatient Robert standing there looking in at her pointing at his wrist to make her aware of the time she was wasting, as if he was scolding her for dedicating any moment to leisure on a road trip. Just then the staff member broke her concentration on Robert by mentioning her drink was ready. Megan hastily picked up her drink and showed it to Robert while pointing at from afar. Through the window she could witness the usual disgusted face of disapproval that Megan was so familiar with regardless of what she did. She thanked the barista and headed towards the door. The stark contrast of life between the barrier of the diner versus the open night was near startling. The silence of the night, however, was interrupted when the commuter train was arriving. Apparently, the station was next to the diner, which she never noticed when wondering towards the diner. There was a….

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