Ceiling Gazing

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"Lunch"

I really like Terry, he is always there to talk to me. He totally makes working early mornings with hang overs okay.

Dave called in his favor much earlier than I expected, the next day I was there, in fact. He called sounding as bad as I felt, with the bells of my phone ringing at the ungodly hour of three thirty. I love my phone, cord and all. It's something my grandfather stole from Bell Atlantic, what is now Verizon. A fire engine red bake-o-lite deal with flashing lights and all Right now though, it was more mortal enemy. He quickly explained something about ending up in Montreal with a lemur in the back of his car? A euphemism perhaps? I have no idea either. It's best to not ask too many questions of Dave. I agreed to take his shift and hauled my sorry ass off to work.

Terry was inside already sitting on his stool. Smiling with the gap in his teeth and all. Never fails to make me happy, if only on the inside.

I really love Terry. I look up to him and take his words as sage advice earned through a well lived life. I think I'm a little like the son or grandson he never had. I've never felt right prying into it but he doesn't talk about his life past 1990 or so, but I know he doesn't have anyone now, a little like me. I didn't get to know my grandfathers well. One died before I was born and the other before I realized you could lose people forever and you need to appreciate things before they're gone.

Terry was as bald as the day as long, the perfect kind of bald where you want to touch his head for luck. The wrinkles on his face can be read like a road map of his life. Meaning that the ones that had formed in the corners of his mouth from every smile and every laugh were etched as deep as canyons. In equal measure there were valleys and ridges in his forehead that gave clue to how much worry and frustration he's gone through. He always wears slacks, button up shirt, a tie and suspenders every day. He is just rad as hell.

so, anyway.

Terry starts off the day, "Rough night kiddo?"

"Yeah you could say that. Rough couple of months more like it though."

He gives me a knowing look. "Nick, if you need to talk to someone I'm here," a moments break that I know is for comedic value. "Just make sure to let me know when you start so I can turn my hearing aid down."

"Sure thing ya old fart." Hey, just cause I love him doesn't mean he's any less of a wise ass.

"How about I treat you to lunch at the diner when your off this shift? Would free food cure what ails ya?"

I'm thrown by this a bit, as close as we are Terry has never offered anything like that before. I must really look like hell today I suppose. It's endearing."Sure but the early bird special ends before my shift does."

"well damn, you're right Nick. Then how about you treating an old man to lunch?"


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