Strawberry – what my Daddy taught me

Continued from 12th and 13th December.
I am already halfway to my feet before I catch myself. This is none of my business. I sit down again. The trucker looks straight at me with icy eyes and cocks his head back; a challenge.
I hold his gaze for a moment, then look down at the menu. Its words swirl meaninglessly.
My Daddy taught me that to back down is cowardly. But my Daddy isn’t here. And he can’t remember how many times I saw, from the back seat of his car, his lights punched out in the parking lots of bars. Back then I’d started to plan how I would’ve handled those situations differently. This is one of those situations.
“Here we go,” she says sliding a cup of steaming coffee onto the table. “You having anything else?”
“A piece of that chocolate cake I saw when I came in?” I point towards the door.
Her space fills with stillness. I glance up. Her pen is aimed at a little white writing block she holds in front of her face. I can see her eyes looking over the top of the writing block. Looking right at me. I get that sense of being strangled again, of my blood heating up and running so fast through my brain that my mind feels light and dizzy.
“Sure,” she says putting the pen and paper into the opening of her apron. “Would you like some cream with that?”

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