“Gordon Alan Pruitt, I had a feeling I’d be seeing you earlier than usual today!” Melinda Barbado, proprietor of The Rolling Bear for fourteen of its thirty-six year history, knew not only the habits but the full names of her regulars, as well as many of the less frequent locals and most of the out-of-towners and passers through in from the road for a quick bite. It was, as her kid sister Belinda said, a “psychic thing”.
Melinda served breakfast at The Rolling Bear between the hours of seven and eleven o’ clock a.m, (everyday except Sunday). Most Saturday mornings, Gordon was ordering his pancakes at just about 10:58. She’d been thinking about him and Ginny and Rebecca – but mostly about him for some reason - this morning when she woke up. As she’d already indicated, she had a feeling about him today.
“Why am I not surprised?” said Gordon, smiling as the café door sighed shut behind him.
“Because you know me too well,” Melinda replied. “Or, at least, well enough.” She stepped from behind the counter and stretched her long limbs. “Now,” she continued at the tail end of a contagious yawn, “are you gonna’ surprise me with an order of something besides your usual this bright and early July morning?”
Catching her yawn and returning it through his lightly curled fist, Gordon shook his head. “Nah,” he said, making his way across the empty café to his accustomed place beside the jukebox (kept unplugged by Melinda, most days, until the lunch menu was circulating). “Just the same old lighter than air pancakes please, Mel. And a glass of milk?”
She smiled. “You got it.”
And so he did just a few minutes later. They were, as always, delicious. Better even than last week, perhaps, fluffier and richer in flavor – not necessarily an objective fact concerning any actual quality of the food itself, but a matter of personal experience on Gordon’s part and therefore, as he viewed it, a possible indication that the pall he had been living under since Ginny left him was thinning. Or, at least, that it was capable of thinning.
In any case, it was after Gordon finished his breakfast that things really got interesting.
- Richard Cody, 2006 -