I’ve Got a Secret

So I realized I haven’t written anything in ages and that needs to be fixed. And I also noticed that this is my 80th post! So I’m celebrating a bit.

I’m going back to my old standby whenever I need to write but can’t seem to. Edward Hopper paintings.  “Nighthawks” is his most famous painting.

I typed in “Nighthawks and Abortion” into google on a whim and got this little article. It doesn’t even mention abortion but it is a great idea, that the woman in red is the epitome of loneliness because she stands out from everything else in the picture. (Which is either too dark or too light)

Anyways, this is just a first draft. And yes I noticed similarities between this and “Hills Like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway. I’m not saying I think I’m as good as him, just that I’m taking almost the same situation.

I’ve got a secret.

I’m not sure if I can tell him. But it’s only been a few days and already I feel it gnawing at me, each day getting stronger. How long can I keep this up?

They had walked to the only place they knew would be open after they had gone to the last showing at the movie house. It was the awkward time of night where it was too early to go home yet too late to do much else. So they walked slowly through the muggy summer night, mostly in silence. The movie wasn’t very good. By the time they reached Phillies they were tired. The only other customer had barely acknowledged them as they shuffled into the cafe. They waited a few seconds for their eyes to adjust before picking adjacent stools on the opposite end of the counter.

“Kitchen’s closed, folks,” the sodajerk said.

She just eyed the gigantic coffee urns sitting on top of the counter a few stools down from them.

“Coffee, please” it was the first time he spoke since he suggested this place.

“Decaf for me please” she added hastily as the sodajerk went to get their coffee. Her boyfriend gave her a brief look.

“I uh… need to be up early tomorrow.” She didn’t look him in the eye.

“oh. well you could have said something back at the movie house.”

“No, no, I wanted to stay out with you a little longer.” She forced herself to flash a smile at him. “Besides, it’s been so hot out that my apartment needs to cool down before I can sleep.” He nodded in agreement.

The coffee arrived and she gratefully took a big gulp before realizing just how late it was. She nearly spit it out before setting the cup down. He, on the other hand, didn’t seem to notice how bad it tasted. She reached for the sugar and poured in more than her usual two spoonfuls.

“Want some?”

“Oh, no thanks.” He looked at the sodajerk who was drying some cups. “Do you have any milk?”

“We’re out.”


“Out. It is Saturday night.” He looked at the clock. “And I’m closing in 20 minutes.”

He didn’t seem fazed by this at all. She briefly considered just telling him now. The other customer stared intently at a newspaper that was soon to be yesterday’s news, his coffee cup sat forgotten at his elbow. She wondered what brought him here alone, on a summer Saturday night.

They sat in silence for a bit, nursing their coffees as if they were alcohol. She didn’t feel able to speak and he didn’t think he needed to. The silence sat awkwardly among them. It wasn’t comfortable but it wasn’t oppressive either; it was just silent.

Finally she opened her mouth. “You know I…”

“Closing time folks. I’m gonna have to ask you three to leave.” The other customer paid and quickly disappeared, leaving his newspaper on the counter. “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here. 10 cents for the coffees mister.”

He fished a dime out of his pocket and put it out on the counter. Neither had finished their coffees, but they didn’t care. They just nodded goodnight as they slipped into the still heat once again. Instinctively they started heading for her place. The streets around Phillies were dead, even a few store fronts empty. This part of town had seen better days.

“God, it didn’t even cool down yet.” He looked at his watch. “And it’s already almost 11.”

She felt uncomfortable; the coffee wasn’t sitting well with her and she swore she felt a little dizzy. “Let’s not rush home then.” She knew she wouldn’t have been able to tell him right now, with even though they were alone. She saw him screaming his head off, waking up the lucky people who were already asleep and making a scene. How did she even think she could have told him at Phillies?

The buildings slowly changed from the silent old-timers to the younger, livelier row houses. Her neighborhood was in transition like all the others, but it seemed to be for the better. They reached her door stoop without her really noticing.


“Next weekend?” she asked.

“I really should check what’s playing. I don’t want to sit through that again.”

“Fine. Maybe dinner then?”

“Maybe. I’ll give you a call by Thursday.”

He kissed her on the cheek and then vanished into the darkness.

She let herself into the building without looking back and went up the stairs to her apartment. She came into her apartment with a loud sigh. Instead of heading straight to bed, she took out her phone book and looked up her best friend’s number. If she couldn’t tell her boyfriend that she was… Don’t think it! then she would at least tell her best friend. She needed to tell somebody soon. She left the book opened to the page right under her phone.

He doesn’t need to know. Then she turned out the light and went to bed.


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