Oh dear! I must admit that when I read the Pondering prompt for this week, the first thought in my mind was "swingers"... not referring to children on the playground, and I'm definitely not going to go there!! Aren't you relieved? Sometimes I worry about the junk catalogued in my mind! :-) On with my story...
Maggie worked the swing shift at the Cactus Flower Café. It stayed open twenty-four hours a day for the truckers that came down the highway running through their small West Texas town. Twenty-eight now, she had married at nineteen and divorced two years later when she came home from work early, sick with the flu, and found him in bed with the next door neighbor.
Maggie hated the town now - so much gossip, and slim pickings for Saturday night dates. She was weary of being hit on by the truckers passing through, and figured that they probably tried the same lines on the women they met at each stop on the road. She was friendly with everyone, but kept mostly to herself. Her shift ended at eleven, and she usually went home and read until she fell asleep, dreaming of lives far more exciting than her own.
As the sun set each evening, Maggie watched out the big window of the café, staring across the wide expanse of desert sand, and fantasized about the seashore she wished was just over the dunes. She had spent two weeks on the Gulf Coast with her sister once a few years back, and fell in love with the ocean - waves lapping at the shore, the smell of saltwater in the air, seagulls flying overhead, toes squishing in the soft, wet sand. She thought that Heaven must be just like this. Maggie's heart grew heavy as she watched the sun sink and the sky turn from crimson to inky blackness, feeling like waiting tables in the middle of nowhere was going to be her life for the rest of her days.
One afternoon Maggie arrived for her shift to be greeted by Sam, the owner. He was usually at home when she arrived, returning to the café in time to help manage the dinner crowd. When Sam asked her to come into his office, she grew nervous. She and Sam were on good terms, she had worked for him since she was 16 and came in after school and on weekends, but he had a strange look on his face and it worried her. Something was up, that was for sure.
Motioning her to the chair across from his desk in the small office he began... "Mags," as he always called her, "I'm getting tired of running this ol' café". Maggie felt her stomach twist into a knot. What if he was going to shut it down and retire? What would she do then? She'd never been one to have the courage to set out on her own.
"I've been thinking," Sam continued. You know that little town on the Gulf Coast where Martha and I go every Fall to spend a little beach time?"
Well of course Maggie knew, he used to bring back handfuls of photos of the time they spent there, to Maggie it seemed like time spent on Fantasy Island, so beautiful, so much happening to keep the tourists entertained.
"Well," Sam said", me and Martha have been talking, and then we did some checking things out, and there's a little café down on the beach strip that stays real busy and the owner got sick and has to sell the place."
Maggie's heart jumped, she couldn't believe what she was hearing? What was Sam proposing to do?
"I called him up yesterday and made him an offer, and he accepted. Now don't you worry about your job, Mags, my brother has been itching to move down here from the Midwest and away from those cold winters. He thinks running this place would suit him just about right. But..."
Maggie felt frozen to her chair... she loved working for Sam, and the thought of him leaving, leaving her here to continue on as she had been, was too much to even contemplate. She bit her lip to hold back the tears that were forming in her eyes.
"Martha and I were talking, and we know how much you enjoyed the beach that time you went there with your sister. We were kind of wondering how you would feel about packing up and leaving this dusty town, heading off to the Coast with us. I sure could use a good assistant manager for that new café on the beach, and I've worked with you long enough to know you'd be perfect for the job."
I'm linking up with Brenda at BYG Adventures
where the word we are Pondering this week is "swing"