January 22, 2014

January 22nd, 2014 StoryStarter prompt: The diner was one of those greasy spoon joints you see in the movies. I grabbed a booth and waited for them to show up...

The diner was one of those greasy spoon joints you see in the movies. I grabbed a booth and waited for them to show up. I rubbed my arms against the chill from the a/c vent right over my head. Well, that, and honestly, I was still a little unnerved by the guitar man.

Spellbound, I had stood before him, watching in silence while he played "my" song. "Amazing Grace." It was all I could do to resist belting out the chorus as I'd done millions of times in daddy's church. When he finished, his eyes drifted up my long, bare legs, before locking with mine. 

"Beautiful song for a beautiful lady," he offered softly. 

I was speechless, my voice had disappeared completely, and my mouth was suddenly too dry. I licked my lips absentmindedly and stared unblinking at him. I'm sure I looked like a simpleton. 

The noon whistle had blown and I shook my head trying to clear my thoughts before throwing some change into his guitar case. He beamed up at me, complete with twinkling blue eyes and one gold-toothed smile. He sprang to his feet and extended his hand toward me.

I shook his hand. "Gracelyn O'Meara," I managed to choke out.

"Welcome home. I'm Henry," he said, still holding my hand. I opened my mouth to ask him how he knew Tinker Falls was home. He interrupted my thoughts, dropped my hand, and turned to walk away. "Better not keep them waiting, Gracie."

I gaped after him. Maybe he had just assumed this had once been my home. But to call me by my long-forgotten nickname, stunned me.

Now, I sat in the greasy diner waiting for my brother and sister to make their appearance, trying to make sense of the mystery. The waitress brought me a glass of ice water and menu. The same red leather clad menus they'd had forever. "Gracie Lynne? Why honey, is that really you? I haven't seen you in years!" she said.

My eyes narrowed while I tried to attach a name to the vaguely familiar face. "Lita Mae?"

She grinned, "One and only, sugar. Real sorry to hear about your daddy."

I nodded. "Thanks Lita Mae."

"Such a good man. Your daddy," she said reverently. I half expected her to cross herself. 

I pulled a deep, french-fry tainted breath into my lungs and blew it out noisily. "Lita? When did the town get a new guitar man?"

She quirked an eyebrow at me and cocked her head. "What are you talking about Gracie Lynne? Old Hank's been the guitar man since forever ago. Don't tell me being in the big city caused you to forget him?"

"No. Not Hank. This was someone else. Really hot guy. About my age," I said, pointing to my front teeth. "With a gold capped tooth and the bluest eyes I've ever seen."

She placed the back of her hand against my forehead and asked, "Honey do you feel alright? Hank's got blue eyes and a gold tooth, but he's not about your age any more than I am. And I wouldn't exactly call him hot."   

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Lori L. Clark

Lori L. Clark currently resides in Hazelwood, MO with three rescue dogs. When Lori isn't listening to the voices in her head, waiting for the next creative inspiration to strike, she also loves to read, run, paint pet portraits and save dogs. Email Lori at

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