The Secret Ingredient Diner

Hello there my people!✨

Thank you all for your patients. I have worked hard on this and though I know it isn’t perfect, I still wanted to share this story with you all for my Thursday story post.

This was support to be posted last Thursday but the writing didn’t save due to a WP issue. So here is it! I hope you enjoy it!❣️

I will have Chapter 4 of Eat Up. The Story of Sweet Vera up next Thursday, November 17, if everything goes as planned. If you’d like to get caught up or you’re new here- follow the link. https://fabricthatmademe.com/2022/10/27/eat-up-the-story-of-sweet-vera-ch-3/.

I am taking the week of 🦃Thanksgiving off and will be back at it on November 29, if I post at all it’ll random fun stuff. We have to do that sometimes!

I have so enjoyed connecting with many of you on this journey and I hope you keep commenting and emailing me! Again, I love you all, and thank you for your support! If you haven’t yet…Please be sure to subscribe to MailChimp… Here is my last UPDATE post https://fabricthatmademe.com/2022/10/25/happy-tuesday-post-its-updatetime/ Follow the links and sign up there! Also, https://fabricthatmademe.com/ follow, like, and share… you know! All the things!

As always… xoxo-

Skelly

The Secret Ingredient Diner

Photo credit to http://www.bing.com/images and https://gothamist.com/food/photos/soho-diner

Allie wiped her eyes, staring at herself in the bathroom mirror in shame. She couldn’t believe she was in this place again. Another failed relationship with a smooth-talking man and his designer stubble. How could she fall for the same lies again? She had really believed James was different, she was even falling in love, but now she was crying her blue eye out in her bathroom sink, mascara running down her face. When would she learn?

Allie cleaned her face off and made her way to the small living room which was opened to an even tinier kitchen. The smashed bottle of red wine was a terrible reminder of the mortifying display, she witnessed in her personal space. What a violation of her territory, her trust! She wished she could erase the vision in her mind, seeing him with that floozy, romantic, together tangled bodies embracing, enjoying a perfect glass of wine so casually, as though she had been the intruder. This was her apartment, her home! What a way to break up with this someone.

Allie inventory her compact apartment and saw James’ key now sitting in a puddle of broken glass and red wine. That cheating baster, she thought to herself. She didn’t want to deal with this place tonight, she needed some fresh air, time to cleanse her mind. She grabbed her old faithful jean jacket, and her shoulder bag and locked the door behind her.

The smells of each different apartment filled the long hallway as Allie made her way to the stairs. This always brought Allie comfort. It made her believe there were happy families behind each door making a hot meal for their loved ones. A loving father, a doting mother, two or three, maybe four children all gather tightly around a small kitchen table, elbow to elbow, clinging their forks to their plates, devouring mashed potatoes with gravy and fried chicken, or her favorite stretch of the hallway which smelt of strong coffee and spaghetti.

Those smells of a comfortable home and good company never came from her apartment, the only thing or smells that came from behind Allie’s door were the strong smells of alcohol, the aftermath of too much alcohol, and a different man that she couldn’t hold on to. She hated herself for it. All Allie really wanted was to be loved. It was obvious to her and most of her neighbors that Allie’s ways of finding love were all the wrong ways.

Allie pushed open the door and exited the apartment building, the night air took her breath away. It was icy cold, and damp, and the wind bit at her cheeks, making her lungs rigid. It was exactly what she needed. She needed that surge, the rush of sharp air pricing at her skin, forcing out the images replaying in her mind, the repeat patterns of her mistakes like a knife through her heart. Somehow this unfriendly rawness in the air was cleansing and painful at the same time. She welcomed it and took a deep breath forcing the frozen air into her lungs, it burnt. It was almost punishment to her. She deserved it, for not learning her lesson after all this time. Her eyes began to water and her tears froze on her cheeks. It was painfully invigoration, pleasure, and pain. There was freedom in feeling her pain! Getting rid of this disgrace and stain on her sad life, she thought. “I don’t want to be this person anymore!” She whispered into the night’s frozen air.

Allie continued to walk down the wet streets, pushing herself threw the icy air. She traveled her normal route that she’s walked many times before; passing a couple mini markets, 2 or 3 liquor stores, a tiny book store, a bakery, and then a few thrift stores, then finally passing her favorite pizza spot.

There weren’t many people on the street which wasn’t totally strange to Allie, being that it was past midnight, However, normally she would see a few of the vagrants huddled near the alley. Strangely tonight, there wasn’t a single soul in sight. It was almost too silent, too empty.

Nothing was open but the liquor stores and she didn’t think she needed any more of that tonight. Allie looked at her watch and was shocked to see it was 3am! Allie thought to herself, what am doing, trying to get mugged? I need to go to sleep. She didn’t know where the time had gone or think she’d been walking for this long. But Allie was feeling a bit dazed and confused and knew she needed rest. Still, the thought of entering her apartment made her sick. She wasn’t ready to see that scene yet.

As Allie turned around to make her way back to the apartment, she noticed there on the corner was a busy lite up Diner. She had never seen it before, not just because it was dark and her head was consumed with thoughts tonight. No, Allie never remembered seeing this Diner on the corner ever! Day or night, sober or drunk.

Photo credit to https://pin.it/7ysD6Lo

There she saw a neon sign glowing, OPEN! As Allie got closer, she could see people sitting inside, eating and drinking coffee. She could now even hear the faint sound of music playing from inside as if inviting her to come in. How had she not noticed this place before?

Allie crossed the street to the Diner letting the music draw her in. She read the partially lit sign that said, The Secret Ingerdigent Diner. That’s a strange name for a Diner she thought, but it looks so busy. It smells so good. Allie couldn’t resist the smells drifting through her soul, it smells like home, comfort. That’s all Allie wanted at this minute. So she pushed open the door and walked in. The warmth wrapped around her like a wool blanket, thawing her from within.

A few people sitting at tables and at the bar stopped to look at Allie as she walked in but most paid no attention to her. The Diner had all the smells that made Allie feel happy, safe, and at home. It was like the apartment hallway but now she wasn’t on the outside of the door stuck in the hallway wishing to come in. Oh, the savory, smell of bacon and sausage sizzling, pork chops or spaghetti, the sweet smell of pancakes, waffles, and pies, the richness of coffee, and the sounds of the perfect amount of ice cubes clacking in the tall glasses of ice tea.

Allie didn’t know what this feeling was coming over her but she felt okay now. Normal. As though she was just like everyone else, no different, no better or worse, but just like everyone else and it felt good here.

“Hey, kid! Ya, gonna sit or what? Open spot here at the bar or table in the back.” Allie looked up, waking from somewhat of a dream-like state, and saw a short man, balding with only a few strains of hair combed over the top of his perfectly round, shiny head, with a beach ball tummy. “What’s gonna be, kid?” the man repeated as he retired his very dirty once white, apron around his belly.

“Aw, back table,” Allie muttered and shuffled her way to the table. The portly man followed her to the table and rested his large round belly on the small booth. It seemed his head sat right on his stomach and his two pudgy arms protruded out the sides. He began to look more like a pumpkin now than a man, to Allie.

“So kid, you sure you should be out this late at night?” The short round man said, trying to rest his arms around his large belly. Allie didn’t know how to answer this. She was not a kid in the least. But tonight had been full of fighting and arguments, she wasn’t going to have another over her age with a well-meaning stranger.

“It’s just been a rough night. I needed a change.” Allie politely answered without making any eye contact.

“Well, this place is good for that.” the short pudgy man replied. Allie looked over to the man, “Good for what?” She replied confused about his response.

“A change,” he answered with a wink.

An awkward silents fall over the two. Allie didn’t know why she wasn’t getting up to leave or say something. She just couldn’t. Something was telling her to stay and wait.

Finally, after several exasperating minutes, the man broke the silence, “So, what will it be then?” he asked, pulling a small notepad from his waist.

Allie answered, “I guess, just coffee. I was never given a menu.” Again she kept her eye down at her hands. It was the strangest feeling. She felt comfortable but also out of her element. Allie knew the man was looking at her but for reason, she couldn’t look back.

The man laughs, “Kid, it’s a Diner. What do ya want?” When Allie didn’t answer, the man spoke up for her, “How ’bout I get that coffee and give you some time to think it over?” As the round man walked away not waiting for Allie to respond, he turned around and added, “Oh, by the way, I’m Fred if you need anything else Allie.” and off he went.

Allie stayed sitting at her table fidgeting with her hands and taking in her surroundings before she realized Fred had used her name. Did I tell him my name? She tried to remember and playback the conversation. That was weird, she thought but the whole night was weird. Just her luck, more things that made no sense at all. Even though her encounter with Fred was odd, she trusted him for some reason. Even now, she didn’t want to leave, she wanted to wait for Fred to come back to her table, but she didn’t know why?

Allie noticed a beautiful blonde sitting at the bar, with long golden curls hanging to her wait. She wore a stunning bight blue mini dress, it was so tight, Allie shied away from looking at her for too long. Her long tan legs and perfect manicure, with match accessories, made it impossible to miss her. Allie couldn’t help but wonder what she was doing in a place like this on a Friday night. Not to mention the fact she had a massive amount of food in front of her. She must have been striving!

Allie didn’t mean to gawk but she’d never seen such an absolutely gorgeous woman, dressed the way she was inhaling such a large amount of food. Then out of nowhere, Allie was again woken from her tonic-like state when Fred abruptly tapped the blonde beauty on her back with his elbow. “You’re making quite a spectacle of yourself, Wanda.”

Then Fred came over to Allie with a gentle smile and dropped off a cup of hot coffee, with a small glass of cream and a jar of sugar for her coffee. “Here kid, did you decide?” Fred asked as he placed all the items on the table. “I recommend a short shack, your choice of meat, hashbrowns, and a side of grits. Unless you aren’t too hungry for all that, kid. You can get a slice of pie, a muffin, or a cinnamon roll? Fred continued on and Allie listened. “Just be sure. Okay, kid.” Fred added.

Allie finally made eye contact with Fred and she saw the sweetness and comfort in his eyes that she had been feeling. She didn’t know why all these strange remarks weren’t making her run away… “be sure?” Okay, sure it’s weird, Allie thought to herself. But something about Fred made her feel safe. She needed that. She longed for it.

“Fred, I’ll just have a cinnamon roll for now,” Allie answered looking into Fred’s eyes as she spoke.“And I am sure.” Allie added with a smirk on her face. Fred, smiled, “I have a feeling you’re in the right place kid. We’ll be seeing each other often. I’ll get that roll.”

As Fred rushed into the kitchen and out of Allie’s sight, she was overwhelmed with a feeling of comfort and peace. She felt more at home than she had ever felt in her life. Allie had no clue why this emotion washed over her the moment she step inside this place. She also was completely unaware that she was never going to leave.

As Allie waited on her cinnamon roll, she leaned back in her booth absorbing this sensation running through every fiber in her being. She felt safety, protection, and pure harmony. It was an odd feeling to her but she welcomed it. She didn’t try to understand it or care to analyze it, she just enjoyed it and rested in it.

As Allie began to close her eyes, she was revived without warning. All of a sudden the blonde beauty at the bar top began to yell for Fred. “Fred, I saw myself… I saw her… was it me or her?” She called for Fred with distress in her voice.

Allie paid attention to the beauty and saw that she was frantic for sure. She looked like she was in a dream, more like a nightmare maybe. Fred came hustling out of the kitchen and handed her a large slice of pie. It oozed with bright red cherries and an even larger scoop of villain ice cream on the side. “Here, my dear. Eat and rest.” The blonde beauty took a bit and then another and before Allie’s eyes, the pie was being demolished.

Allie hadn’t realized but she was indeed open-mouthed gawking at the women eating. The blonde must have felt Allie’s eyes on her, she turn her head slowly and made eye contact with Allie.

“Why don’t you take a picture! It’ll last longer!” The blonde said in a snide tone.

“Oh, sorry! You’re just so thin, like a model. Gorgeous really and I’m weird. And. Sorry. Sorry.” Allie Awkwardly tried to explain herself. She knew she had been staring at the woman and she felt rude for her prying eyes, but also she was astonished why this unusual woman.

“Did you say thin?” the woman said, smiling back at Allie. The woman stopped eating her pie and turned her stool around to face Allie. “Hello, my name is Wanda. So you think I am thin and beautiful? The beautiful blonde pulled her long curls over her shoulder and began to play with them around her fingers.

Well, I mean yes. Doesn’t every man and woman in this place… everywhere tell you that?” Allie answered a bit shocked at the question.

“You would think they would!” Wanda said in a flirty voice. “I like you. What brings you here?”

“I was just lost. I had never seen this place before. Honestly, I doubt I’ll be back.” Allie replied as she watched Wanda play with her long golden hair.

Wanda broke out in laughter. “Oh Allie, you’re funny! I like that about you! Do you see all these people Allie? Well, I see them every night… just like I am gonna see you! Wanda said, pointing at Allie with her perfectly manicured finger. “Now, don’t worry about a thing. You’ll love it here.” Wonda added laughing casually.

“Okay, girls coming through,” Fred interrupted the conversation and Allie’s confusion, with a hot cinnamon roll that he placed on her table.

It was big and full of hot gooey cherries on top. Allies had never seen anything like that before. “This is a special recipe passed down from my great great grandmother,” Fred said as he handed Allie a fork. The smell was delightful. The sweetness, the tartness, the spice… Allie waited to dig in thinking Fred would walk away and let her enjoy this treat privately but he stayed, eager for Allie’s reaction.

Allie took her fork and craved out a bite of the sweet roll, making sure to get every part of this delicious creation on her fork. She took a bit and right as she put it in her mouth, she noticed everyone in the dinner was watching her. Everyone had turned around in their seats to watch her take a bite.

As she closed her mouth, the people turned back around and she began to chew the sweet, gooeyness, melting in her mouth. It was in fact the best thing she had ever eaten before. She didn’t care why anyone was looking at her, or even notice that Fred was still standing over her watching her eat. All she could do was enjoy the smooth warm, sweetness and pay attention to nothing else.

It was as if she was dreaming, lost in time. Allie sat at her table slowly eating every last bit and drinking down her coffee and cream till nothing was left to consume. She was full, content, serene even.

“Thank you, Fred. Tonight was… “ Allie stopped mid-sentence. What tonight was? Allie had forgotten what had even bought her to this Diner, to begin with. “I guess just thank you, Fred.

As Allie got up to leave, she reached into her bag to pay and Fred touched her arm. “No kid, you’re one of us now. It’s on the house.” and gave her a pat on her back, “Well see ya, around kid.” He adds giving her a wink.

Allie said nothing and headed out the door. Only stopping to take one last look knowing she would not be back. That was when she noticed all the people were gone, the lights were out, the smells, music, and Fred… they were all gone. But the taste of the sweet, zingy cinnamon roll lingered in her mouth and warmed her belly. It couldn’t have been in her imagination.

Allie now bracing the harsh frigid air as the sun peeked over the skyscrapers, was ready to put this night behind her, all she wanted was her pillow to sleep off this strange night she had experienced. The hustle and bustle of the businessmen and women, early morning joggers, and dog walkers were already getting their day started. Allie walked past all her usual places, and she couldn’t help but notice the type of men noticing her. Men that would have never given her the time of day before, were now smiling at her with kind eyes. Everyone kindly stepped out of her way and was not running right into her like she was invisible, the way she was used to being treated. People were greeting each other with good morning and have a good day. This was not the norm for Allie. She wasn’t used to people holding doors open for her, smiling at her, or greeting her at all, but more like avoiding her. After 24 hours of zero sleep and a night out of a fiction movie, Allie was sure she had looked and smelled terrible and might be hallucinating. Why were these people coming up to her, being so nice?

The kind, polite behavior was throwing her off but it only made Allie more determined to get to her bed and hit the pillow to put this craziness behind her. As she turn the key to her apartment door, she braced herself remembering the mess she had left behind. As the door opened to her place she was shocked to see, nothing at all. Her whole apartment was cleaned. Not just cleaned, it was in perfect order. Allie had never had her place in order.

Allie was glad to just have a place to live at all with her messy life and unstable work history, being organized was never her thing. She wanted to be but could never grasp it. From the looks of this place, she was not only highly organized, clean, and well put together, but she must have gotten a well-paying job in the mid of the night because the tattered furniture and stained flooring had all been replaced as well. There was no more broken glass anywhere, no slipt wine to clean up. It was as if she didn’t live there at all.

Allie walked back into the hallway and shut the door to this posed apartment, she checked her key and the number on the door. Yes. It was her apartment. “How is this right?” Allie thought to herself. She was sure she was losing her mind and ran downstairs to the maintenance area looking for a serviceman to help her. After a few minutes of searching, Allie found an older man to listen to her ramble about her crazy night and the state of her apartment.

With panic and confusion surging through Allie’s bones, she begged the old man to help her and asked him to look at the security tapes, to do anything to help explain why the apartment was so nice and clean now? What in the heck happened to her place! The maintenance man was very confused and said, “Let me get this right? You’re upset because your apartment is too nice and too clean? That’s the first time I’ve heard that one. I’m gonna write that one down.” He chuckled and walked right by her.

Allie asked a few people that lived in her apartment building if they had seen or heard anything at all. They all said no but had plenty of compliments to give to Allie. Everyone told her how proud they were of her and how amazing she was doing. They were just so pleased with this amazing turned around in her life, love, and career. They were all so happy for her newfound joy in life. Allie simply replied… “Okay.. thanks?” What else was she to say? She had no clue what was going on anymore.

Am I in the twilight light zone Allie thought? Then she stopped to take inventory of her surroundings. Her apartment building smelled like flowers she thought… not like a home with a family. That’s weird. She looked closer at the main entrance of her building and it was clean, the trash was emptied and the newspaper stand wasn’t tripped over anymore. It was nice and welcoming. Although Allie always hoped they would clean this place up, it was weird the small changes that made things feel off, she didn’t know why didn’t notice them before.

There were potted plants everywhere. Where the hell did they all come from? Where did these plants, flowers, and nice painted pictures hanging in the hall come from? Now, there’s an armchair by the elevators? Since when? The elevator doesn’t even work! Allie pushed the button for the elevator as it opened. “What the hell!” Allie yelled. She was feeling dizzy now.

“Dear, who are talking to?”A sweet little old lady walked over to Allie and held her hand. “Honey, you look like you need some help.” Allie, now out of breath and sure she was going to pass out, looked at this tiny white-haired lady and burst into tears.

“I think I am losing my mind.” Allie cried.

“No. No. You just need sleep and everything will be fine,” she said, smiling with a wink. “Now up to bed with you Allie. Before you scare your neighbors anymore.” The little old woman scooted Allie into the evaluates and sent her on her way. Allie watched the doors close and the little old woman gave her a little wave.

Wait! How do I know you?” Allie ran to the closed elevator doors as she realized this old woman knew her name but it was too late.

Allie got off the elevator, walked back to her foreign apartment, and slowly went in inside. She had to admit it was nice to have such a clean, fresh-smelling place. It was really nice. it wasn’t too fancy or anything but perfectly her. It was everything she would have picked out in a magazine. She was starting to feel like maybe it was her apartment after all. Maybe she did pick out these things and just had a really bad headache. “I need sleep,” Allie told herself.

Allie made her way to her bedroom and again it was everything she always wanted her bedroom to be. Light and airy, with light blue curtains and dark hardwood floors, an off-white puffy down blanket, and lots of candles. So simple. She didn’t remember creating this space but it somehow felt very familiar to her. She laid in her bed and it was comfortable, so habitual to her as if she had slept in this very bed a million times before.

As Allie slept she began to dream she was free, running through a soft cloud of grass, the breeze danced all around her. She stopped to sit by a river and admire its calm beauty. It began to gently rain and she felt no need to run or hide, looking for shelter. She lay in the tall grass letting the rain wash her. It wasn’t cold or hot, it was perfect. She stared up to the heavens and saw the clouds swirling and turning, making art in the sky above her. Then all of a sudden a crash of light hit the ground and Allie shot up out of bed. She looked around her space and it was still the perfect well-kept apartment she went to sleep in. She felt her covers and pulled them up around her, “This is my place. This is my bed. These are my blankets.” She said reassuring herself.

Allie looked out her window and it was raining.”It was just the rain, idiot.” She said to herself. The sun was now going down. Allie had slept away the entire day. It was time to get up and explore this new place she lives in. She made her way to her bathroom, waiting to see another mess but no. It was another perfectly clean, designed room. She looked into the mirror and shrieked!

“My skin, my hair, my eyes!”

Allie was no spring chicken before this night. Her behavior made people side-eye her all the time. Being told that she didn’t act her age often was nothing new for Allie, but it wasn’t because she was doing great things, or going on adventures. It was more because she was reactive like a toddler or inactive like a teenager. Allie was easily pushing 60 years old but never told a soul her real age. She fought her gray hair with an at-home hair dying kit and overused concealer, along with overlining her eyes with dark eyeliner, to draw attention away from the lines on her face. Her teeth had yellowed from years of smoking and although she carried her weight well, she had a bit of a beer belly from all the alcohol and late-night fast food runs. She wasn’t an ugly woman but she had really run herself down with bad lifestyle choices over the years.

Looking in the mirror now she didn’t recognize the reflection looking back at her. Her hair was shiny, and light brown, it look so long, and healthy now. She hadn’t seen her real hair color since she was a child. Her skin was smooth, radiant, glowing even! She had no makeup on but her cheeks were rosy pink, and her olive skin was just enough. Her once-thin cracked lips were now plump, full, and a natural red. Her eyes were crystal clear, a diamond blue. Allie smiled and reviled a mouth full of pearly white teeth. She couldn’t believe her fresh blue eyes. Allie had reunited with her younger self and although she had many questions, she was consumed by this overwhelming feeling that this was her do-over, and she wanted to hold on to it with both hands!

It was still her but she hadn’t seen this girl since she was 17 years old, before everything went to shit. Before life got too out of control for her. Before she stops caring or prioritizing. Before Allie lost hope. She couldn’t look away from the mirror. She kept feeling her face. How is this real? She thought to herself. Allie ripped off her clothes to see if her 17-year body matched her face.

Allie wrapped her arms around her firm, smooth body and cried out, “I have missed you so missed,” and tears run down her face. Partially, she cried joyfully for this newfound youth ness and this able body that she wore, but mostly Allie’s tears were for this kid she had hurt over so badly. This kid, this with a dismal past. a young girl that had been used and abused, and unprotected. It was like welcoming back an old friend.

Allie wanted to do right by herself this time around. After all, she grieved this young girl and now she was looking back at her in the mirror. She hadn’t been kind to this kid. She had let people and the world become her master. Allie leaned closer to the mirror, staring closer at those diamond blue eyes now swollen with tears and still hugging her body, and whispered, “I’m sorry. I’ll be better this time”

After some time wrapping her head around this new but very familiar body, Allie needed to know if everyone else saw her this way also. She decided to go to her old stomping grounds and see how she was received by her bar crew and a few others that knew her well, like that cheating jerk James.

Allie got all dolled up. She put on the most reviling, sexy low-cut dress that she could find. She really wanted her bar friends to see what they were missing without her. But before she headed out she needed a drink, something to ease her nerves. Allie searched her apartment high and low for a little drink, but there was not a sip of alcohol to be found. That’s weird she thought, I always have something in my place. That’s okay, Allie thought she’d just stop and grab something at the liquor store on the way and she locked the door behind her.

So Allie headed out for the night in her new body and was getting all the looks. She was feeling great about herself. She couldn’t remember the last time she felt this sexy and hot. She yearned to be wanted, this feeling of being craved was everything she hoped for! Every man would turn their head to catch a glimpse of Allie, and even the women had to stop in their tracks to acknowledge Allie’s glow and confidence as she walked down the street.

Allie stopped at the liquor store and get two shooters, but before handing over Allie’s purchases, the cashier blended toward her and asked, “Are you, sure kid?”

Allie paused for a moment taken back, “Oh, I know I look young. Good genetics I guess. Want my ID?” Allie thought this was odd but after all, she did look 17 years old now, anyone would question her.

The cashier answered leaning over the corner towards Allie, “No, Allie, I just want to make sure, you’re sure you want this purchase?

Did I tell you my name?” Allie asked now confused and a bit confused. The cashier slide over the shooters and began helping the next customer. Allie opened both small plastic bottles right there and took them both right away. She then took the empty shooters and sat them on the cashier’s counter. “Thanks,” she said sassy in her tone, and walked out.

What a jerk she thought to herself. Allie kept walking and getting looks from passers-by but the looks were changing. Some looks were funny and pointing but others looked concerned and disgusted. Allie ran over to a larger window to check her reflection. Her skin was changing. It was starting to crease, to flake off in chucks, and her flat tummy had started to bloat.

“No…no!” Allie began to panic and ran into the mini-market nearby. “I need your bathroom”, she yelled running past the shoppers, covering her face.

Once in the bathroom, she reviewed her body again, ripping off all her clothes. She still looked like the 17-year-old fresh-faced beauty she left the house as. What is wrong with me, Allie thought to herself. She got dressed again and looked in the mirror closely. She was fine. She looked young and beautiful still. She gave herself a little pep talk, putting herself back together. “Let’s go!” She said to herself.

Allie walked out of the store with her head held high. Her confidence had returned. She had finally made it to Mugs. Her favorite hold in the wall bar. Where everyone knew her name but they would be shocked to see her like this. She was better than them now but wanted them to see that first before trying her hand at a more high-end place.

Allie walked in and expected everyone to greet her, but no one looked at her. No one talked to her or gave her any attention at all. It was as if she was invisible. Well, it’s dark and loud in here, Allie thought she herself. She made herself comfortable at the bar and order a beer. Then she saw him. James! That good for nothing, sneaky baster! Allie was going to really let him have it! She was going to make him pay for being so fine! He looked so happy with that woman sitting at his table, all his friends, laughing and happy. How dear he be all lovey-dovey with her and HAPPY! That’s it Allie thought, I am going to show him what he lost! Allie thought.

Allie walked right up to him but before she could say a word a flash appeared in her mind. It was her alone, old, and sitting in a dimly lit room. She was crying and depressed. There was no one there with her, she was alone, sad decrepit, broken, and rotting away. She smelled of decay. All her long hair had fallen out, and her smooth, youthful skin was gone, peeled away. No friends or no family to care for her now, only the insects could tolerate her. She stayed locked away in her own personal prison, the key right within her reach but her badly festering body couldn’t do anything but lay lifeless and spoil away.

When Allie came to James was standing over her with her a lady standing next to him, “Kid, you okay? Should we call some for you?” he asked repeatedly.

Allie sat up and felt her head. It hurt. “My head is killing me. What happened?” Allie asked totally confused.

The woman with James took over and held Allie in her arms, “Honey, I don’t know what happen but you hit your head pretty hard on the floor.” I think we need to get you a ride home. Where’s there that kid?” She asked holding an ice pack to Allie’s head.

Um, I don’t know. I’m fine though. I know how to get back.” Allie tried to answer. “I’m sorry I’m just a mess tonight I guess.”

“Oh, don’t be hard on yourself. I remember being a young kid once too. We learn as we go Allie.” The woman replied as she helped Allie to her feet.

Allie turned her body away from the lady quickly. “I don’t remember telling you my name,” Allie said looking at her suspiciously.

“Why of course you did. We’ve been talking for a bit now. I’ve been icing your head for over 20 minutes. You remember I’m Linda.” The woman answered with a grin and winked at Allie.

“Okay. Linda, Thank you for your help but I think I am fine to go now.” Allie grabbed her bag, held her head, and walked out with her bruised ego. What am I doing? This is the life that I wanted to stop being a part of and here I am doing it! Allie was again mad at herself. The vision in her mind was overwhelming, it scared her but more than anything it made her ill. What was it a dream, a premonition, a warning? She wanted to understand. Allie needed to find that Diner!

Allie walked the streets all night and nothing. It was like that corner never existed. Finally, at 3am Allie’s feet were killing her and she couldn’t take anymore. She decided it was time to go back to the apartment, she wasn’t going to get any answers tonight. She started to head that way when who did she see but a beautiful tall blonde in a bright blue mini dress crossing the street.

“Wanda!” Allie yelled, “it’s me, Allie.”

Wanda stopped and looked over to Allie and gave her a big smile. “Of course, it’s you, Allie! Didn’t I tell you that you’d be back!” Wanda changed directions and crossed the street over to Allie. Wanda, in a tip-toed-like motion, wearing matching stiletto heels, ran towards Allie. “Now, you look amazing…different thought I will say.

“Ya, I look like I did when I was 17,” Allie answered very as a matter of fact. “My skin is all smooth, my hair is smooth, teeth are white, I’m not fat anymore. I don’t know what happened.” Allie’s tone was even. This tonight was all over the top for her and she just wanted to understand what was happening.

“I don’t know what you’re talking about sweetie. You look the same to me. I meant your outfit. It’s different. Like all your bits are falling out.” Wanda said pointing and poking at Allie.

Are you saying, I looked this young last night when you saw me?” Allie asked surprised at Wanda’s response.

“Kid, what are you playing at? You looked sad last night, and a little like a stalker, staring at me like you were. But ya, you looked like you, kid.” Wanda explained as you grabbed hold of Allie’s arm and pulled her across the street.

Wait. Wanda my life is different though. Right? I not going crazy?” Allie pulled back on Wanda’s arm sternly.

Look, you can’t go back now. You have probably seen what would happen if you try. So don’t! Fred will talk to you more, come on.” Wanda warned, giving Allie a squeeze and pulling her back across the street.

“Where are we going,” Allie asked. “I have been looking for the Diner all night and I am telling you I can’t find it.”

Like magic, Allie heard the music calling her in, the savory and sweet mix of smells employing her home. This was the place she longed to be. The Diner lights glowed again bright The Secret Ingredient Diner. The women pushed open the doors and all of Allie’s senses were overtaken. Allie walked to the back table and Wanda took her sit at the bar. Fred greeted Wanda and they spoke quietly. They both looked over at Allie a few times. She had a feeling they were talking about her.

“Kid.” Fred greeted Allie. Standing next to her table.

“Kid? That’s the greeting I get. You have to know what’s been going on.” Allie demanded eye-to-eye with Fred.

Look kid I am not happy with you. You were in bad shape yesterday. It’s pathetic quite honestly! You have no one to blame but yourself for your situation or any of the mess you keep getting into. But I understand. I believe you wanted a new life so I gave you one and what did you go do with it right away?” Fred explain calmly, peacefully with both cubby hands wrapped firmly around his belly.

Allie felt shameful, she knew Fred was right.

“It’s not your job to understand the why or how. You just accept what is. I asked you, kid, are you sure? Not only did you say you are sure, but you also ate every last bit. You have been saved from hell but this isn’t heaven either kid. There are rules. YOU must do better are you go directly to your own personal hell. You’ve seen glimpses of it already. This is your only chance.”

Fred placed his fat hand on Allie’s table, right before her eyes it became a movie screen. There began to replay a part of Allie’s life that she must have forgotten, or at least not in the way she remember it.

Allie was taken back to that night when she walked in on James at her apartment. Allie saw James and the woman sitting on the couch together. This woman now looked familiar now to her but she couldn’t place how she knew her. James and the familiar-looking woman sat side by side, not touching at all. “No,” Allie thought “I was sure they were in each other’s arms?”

Allie watched in confusion as she continued and saw herself enter her apartment, stumbling, and drunk. She had an oversized bottle of wine in her hand. James stood up, rushing over to Allie, asking where she’d been. He seemed concerned and worried for her. But Allie only cared about why this strange woman was in the apartment.

Allie saw herself screaming and waving her arms wildly. James repeated that he loved her over and over but Allied didn’t remember any of this from before. Had she really been so drunk and out of her mind?

Next thing Allie knew she took the large wine bottle, swung it over her head, smashing the woman in the face with it. The mystery woman fell back and hit her head hard on the floor. Allie at the time did not remember any of this but now watching it play out gave her chills. The mix of red wine and the women’s thick blood sprayed onto the dingy-white walls and began to puddle on the floor around her head. The dark amber color glass of the wine bottle shattered now all over the tiny apartment as the TV flickered in the background. Allie wanted to pull away from this horror film but it was no movie. It was her real life. She was paralyzed, frame by frame her reckless and careless behavior.

“What have you done Allie! This is my sister you lunatic!” James rushed to his sister’s side, crying and yelling in grief, holding his sister in his arms, “you’ve killed my sister Allie. Oh, sweet Linda!” James cried out. Allie stood there blankly, emotionless, and heartlessly, only saying, “Give me my key back.” Then she walked away toward the bathroom at the end of the hall out of sight. James stayed with his sister laying on the floor, crying in agony over his great loss and over the extreme coldness of the woman he thought loved him. He had lost two women this night. Both he loved deeply but only of these women loved him back and she was gone now forever.

“NO! STOP!” Allie screamed. She couldn’t take anymore. She didn’t want to believe she could have done this. “It didn’t happen. I just saw them tonight at the bar together!” Allie explained, trying to make sense of things.

What did you see, kid? Fred said, calmly removing his hand from the table.

Allie tried to think back going through her evening. She saw James sitting at a table top table with a group of people. He was happy, smiling. That made her unhappy. That woman was there too, Allie remember, but she was across the table and she was laughing and smiling too. That made me upset too Allie thought. I didn’t want them to be happy. That could mean anything. Allie shook her head. “okay, “Yes, I saw them. No, maybe not together… maybe with a group? They were happy and that made me mad! I don’t know why. I was jealous I guess. Allie tried to explain her feeling but she knew she sounded selfish and looked away from Fred.

That women’s name is Linda,” Fred added. “She is James’ sister. Do you remember her Kid?” Fred’s voice was slow and gentle now.

Allie lowered herself even deeper into the booth. She felt sick to her stomach. “Did I do this? Did I kill her?” She said in a small voice. “Am I this person I’ve seen?”

“Kid, I gave you what you asked for, a change. A chance for something better. A way to right some wrongs and trust me you have plenty. You have hurt people with your deception, malice, and reckless choices. But no one has been hurt by your dark path more than you have. The lack of accountability and finger-point you have done has led you right where you are. Life is not without consequences both good and bad. Kid, this is your saving grace. This is your moment. There have been many helpers along your path. You’ve met many of them today that have tried their damnest to keep you on track and out of trouble but it seems you are hell-bent on going off course. Even sweet Linda tried her hardest to save you, not once but twice. We know how that turned out.” Fred spoke with his hand folded together over his belly. He still spoke gently to Allie but she knew he meant business. He had a father present about him she didn’t want to test.

Allie kept her eyes down as tears flowed heavily now. She wanted to make things right. She wanted to say she was sorry but how many sorrys can I person say? Silence filled the space for what seemed like forever but Fred never left Allie’s side. I stay there as she cried.

Fred sat on the table a warm gooey sweet cinnamon roll topped with hot cherries. He poured Allie a mug of hot coffee and gave her all the fixings. “Allie. Kid, eat and rest. Be full and try again tomorrow. Listen. Learn. Read. Grow. Become wiser as you go this time but you really do only have this time around to make a change. As Fred went to walk away, he add, “You know I always thought it was odd that you people think you only live once. Your actually only die once. One time and that it’s. Once you’re gone, you are gone. But you live many days… over and over.” Fred said with a chuckle… It’s how you make that trip that matters, kid, and it’s gonna make all the difference for you.

Allie sat up a bit in her booth and grabbed her fork from Fred, he turned around and walked away. Allie took her fork, cut in a big bite, and solved it into her mouth. It was as if the entire day hadn’t happened at all. Peace fell over her again.

Tomorrow would be a new day. To make a new choice, better decisions. To be a hero in someone’s stories instead of the villain. To learn something new, to grow from a mistake, to listen to a friend, and be wiser than the day before. She would give that apology that someone really needed to hear and she’d forgive herself and take the blame for her own wrongs. It was going to be new and hard. But when the day was done and she was tired and broken from the day she knew where to go and what would be waiting for her.

The End


cheery filled gooey cinnamon roll, close up picture. Zoomed in.

Gooey Cherry Cinnamon Sweet rolls Check out the link. Make your own Cinnamon rolls at home.🧁

Cherry Cinnamon Cobbler Sweet rolls Check out this link! See which one you like better!🍒


Sk


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