Jon pointed out a booth to Steve. “Let’s sit here.” Then Jon looked around and nodded his head toward the corner. “Boy’s room. I’ll be back.” He slowly walked back.
Steve slid into the booth and removed his gloves and jacket. It was warm in the diner compared to the chilled air outside. A waitress just a few years younger than himself walked up. He looked at her nametag, Suzy. He looked up at her, “Hi, Suzy!”
She smiled as her brown eyes danced in the light from the pendant overhead. “Hi. What can I get you?” She wasn’t often greeted by her name, but she liked how Suzy fell off his tongue.
Steve proceeded to order, “My friend,” he nodded toward the back, “will have your famous hot cocoa and a burger with fries. I’ll have coffee and a burger too.”
Suzy looked at Steve a moment, then over her shoulder to the back. She then looked back at Steve. “Okay, two burgers and fries, a hot cocoa and a coffee. Coming up.”
She turned around and stepped behind the counter. She quickly returned with a hot cocoa and coffee. “So, your friend will be back soon?”
Steve smiled. He figured Jon was possibly cleaning up a bit since he’d been out on the street for a while. “Yes, he probably needs a few minutes.”
Suzy smiled back at Steve and returned to her duties behind the counter.
Jon returned and slid into the both across from Steve. “Oooh, that cocoa smells delish!” he leaned toward the cup and took in a big whiff. He pulled the cup closer to his side of the table, then looked up. “My granddaughter Suzy makes the best cocoa. I remember it from years ago.”
Steve smiled, looked at the waitress, then looked back. “Wow, our waitress is named Suzy.”
Jon continued, “Really? Small world! My Suzy is a sweetheart. She really should find herself a good man. Hard worker and pretty as all get out.” Jon smiled to himself, then looked at the quilt he had wrapped around his shoulders. “I know it isn’t much to look at, but the memories from this quilt keeps me warm.”
Steve leaned in to hear Jon as he continued on his poignant story.
“See, my wife’s grandmother made this quilt. It’s pieced together from old clothes and fabric findings. It’s why the pieces are all different.” He pointed at fabric covered in flowers, stripes, and solids. “We had plenty of picnics on this quilt, and used it on those cold nights to cuddle under, watching tv, and,” his smile turned a little shy and a blush came to his cheeks, “well, you know.”
Steve let out a chuckle, to which Suzy looked up and glanced over at the booth. That was the only table occupied that evening. It was a hearty chuckle, and while she didn’t know what it was about, it made her smile. She turned back to her work, waiting for the order to come up.
Jon continued to share his story, then switched his attention, “Now, about this watch. I’d really like you to have this watch, Steve.” Jon lovingly looked over the watch, holding the chain and rubbing its surface. “It’s a great watch, and I think you deserve it.”
Steve smiled. He had no need for a watch, but thanked Jon. “Tell you what. I’ll consider it. I’m going to step to the….boy’s room… before our meal comes. I’ll be right back.” Steve stood up and walked to the back of the diner.
A few minutes later, Steve returned. Suzy had just dropped off the two meals, still piping hot, at the table. However, Jon was no where to be seen. Suzy approached the table, her jacket on. “It’s almost the end of my shift, anything you need?”
Steve looked up at her, “Did you see where my friend went?” he asked as he glanced around. “I hope he didn’t leave.” Steve looked down at the table and the watch sat on the table beside the cup of cocoa.
Suzy looked at the table as Steve picked up the watch. “I didn’t see anyone with you sir, but that sure is a nice watch. Reminds me of my grandfather Jon’s. He loved that watch even though it never kept time.”
Steve looked at Suzy, then back at the watch in his hand. He opened the cover and read, The best gift you can give is your time.
He looked back up at Suzy and smiled. Then he looked at the jacket she was wearing to keep warm; a patchwork of fabrics, vibrant but familiar. “Where did you get your jacket?”
Suzy blushed. “I made this from my grandmother’s quilt. She and grandpa always used it and I wanted to keep it close. It had become tattered over the years. I hope I did it justice.”
Steve shook his head yes, still gripping the watch. “Yes, you did.”
Just as she finished her thought, another waitress walked in. Suzy waved hello and turned back to Steve. “Well, my shift is over, so Janice is going to take over. Have a…”
Steve interrupted her, “Suzy, it appears I ordered a meal too many — would you like to join me since your shift is done? I hear the burgers here are the best in town.
Suzy smiled as she slid off her coat and took a seat. She picked up the untouched mug in front of her and inhaled. “Hot Cocoa, my favorite.”
“I’m Steve by the way.”
Suzy’s grin grew, “Nice to meet you, Steve. I’m Suzy.”