As he waited for his coffee and doughnut, Demond thought of calling Alicia. He got up and went to the bank of telephone booths at the back of the diner. The officer nodded at him and Owen nodded back. Demond didn’t know if it was a friendly gesture from the officer or an attempt at keeping tabs on him. He was lucky the Diner still had telephone booths, which were rapidly disappearing. A majority of people had started using cell phones.
“Hi Babe, how’s it going?” Demond said as she answered. She had just reported for work in the hospital. It was just after eight thirty in the morning.
“Demond, why you calling? You all right?” Alicia asked.
“Yes…I mean…Uh, oh yes. I’m fine. Just thought of talking with you and hearing your voice.”
The only thing Demond had told her was that he was on a special assignment from his boss to visit Miami and that he would be home the next evening. Demond was not in the habit of calling in during the day when on business trip.
“You had your meeting with whomever?”
“Yes… I mean… no. It was at 10. I was on my way.” Demond stuttered. “But he canceled…yes cancelled… at last-minute.”
“Demond, you don’t sound right. What’s going on?”
“I’m fine. I’m fine. I’ll see if I can take an earlier flight to come back home.”
“That’ll be super. If there’s time, maybe, we can go out for dinner.”
Demond agreed. “Love you,” he said as he hung up.
“Love you too,” Alicia said in return
Demond wished he had talked more but he didn’t know what to talk about. He didn’t want to tell her what had happened that morning. He just needed to make a contact with someone, hear someone’s voice.
He came back to his booth. The coffee and doughnut were waiting for him. The police officer had left. Demond felt queasy in his stomach. The coffee had gotten cold, but he didn’t want to bother Lydia. A few minutes passed. The old couple had also left. Demond finished eating his doughnut, got up again and went to the telephone booth. He called the airline to see if he could get on an earlier flight to La Guardia.
“Yes, we have an 11’o clock flight going to La Guardia. Would you like to take that?”
The customer service person took Demond’s information.
“J…u.. s..t give me a moment. Our computers are running slow today.”
There was a long silence. Demond wondered if he had lost the connection, but the lady came back on and told him that everything was set.
Demond spent an hour in the coffee shop. He asked for refills of the coffee two times. The officer fortunately had not stayed long. He had waved at Demond again as he left. From the large window of the diner, Demond had seen him getting in his patrol car and drive off.