I squeezed into the faded red seat and stretched out my legs, feeling a wiggle of relief mixed with pain. "Oh my god," I said, I said to Corb, who knew exactly where I was coming from. "I don't think I could have gone much further without my legs falling off."
"I know," he said, taking off his leather jacket. "I wish I could take off my legs and hang them up on a hanger, and just let them relax for an hour or two."
I glanced around the small diner, taking it all in through tired eyes: the neon green and red lines of light that ran across the top of one side, the jukebox stationed at the back wall by the restrooms, the counter behind which the young cook was working away, where a college student sat, with long brown hair and a serious gaze, peering down into a thick dog-eared notebook, where our waitress, a healthy looking girl with short brown hair and large maraschino cherry earrings was gathering our menus.
"She'd be pretty if it wasn't for that tattoo," Corb whispered to me, glancing over at her, and focusing on a large slightly faded Technicolor hodgepodge that covered her entire upper right arm. The girl almost seemed a throwback to the fifties, with her checkered uniform, short bobbed hair, and thick black glasses, a remembrance perfect that was cast ajar by this modern touch.
"And she doesn't have an accent at all, did you notice?" I whispered. "I'm impressed."
"I'm going to ask her where she's from," Corb whispered, his blue eyes twinkling and a grin on his face.
I grabbed his hand. "Don't!"
And there, the waitress was, next to us. "Can I help you?"
"Do you mind if I ask you a question?" Corb asked, and I removed my hand. "You don't have any accent at all. Where are you from."
She paused for a moment, unsure whether to reveal this detail to a total stranger. "Cape Cod," she replied, after a three spot. "My parents lived in Falmouth, but I've been here for a while."
"Can I have a coffee?" I asked. "And a chocolate cake?"
Corb chose orange soda and strawberry rhubarb pie.
On the jukebox, Billie Holiday started playing. What a Little Moonlight Will Do.
"I like it here," said Corb, nodding with approval. "This was a good choice."
I laughed. "And here you were, worrying that the night didn't turn out the way you wanted. See? It all works out, in the end."
"Well, I wasn't expecting that we'd be walking through Boston most of the night," he said.
"We were supposed to go on a walking ghost tour," I reminded him.
"You know what I mean," he said, looking at me seriously. "I wasn't expecting it would be cancelled, or that we'd spend the whole night trying to figure out where to eat, or end up eating Chinese food at the mall, or that everything in Boston would close up after nine o'clock, so we couldn’t find a halfway decent place to have dessert, or that we'd miss our train by five minutes and have to wait another two hours for the next one to arrive, or that even so, we wouldn't have enough time to catch a movie, or, or..." The waitress handed me my coffee in a large mug, and I sloppily started to pour cream into it.
"Or that we'd end up here," I replied. "And the night wasn't half bad at all. The Chinese food was delish." Corb handed me a pile of napkins to soak up the spillage. I heard a squeak, and I turned to my left, to watch our waitress set herself onto one of the red seats by the bar, sitting down to a plate of food. Her dinner, apparently.
"I liked when we walked past that lady walking her dog," Corb said. It had been a pug, just like my brother Tommy had. "You said, 'look at the puppy.'"
"And you said, 'look at the puppies,'" I grinned.
"Well, they were hanging out there for everyone to see," he laughed.
"Anyway, I don't think this evening turned out half bad, at all," I replied. "We were meant to have the best part of our night here, and that's just the way it turned out."
"I could stay here all night long," said Corb. "I could spend hours in here. I just like the atmosphere."
"I do, too," I replied. "And I like the company, even better." And we looked into each other eyes, as we had done, so many times, that evening. And I thought, once again, about kissing him.
What a little moonlight can do.