Scenes from an American Diner: A Story in 26 Parts
of us have had our lives touched in some way by the disease of
addiction. Be it a loved one, friend, family member or even ourselves
no one is immune to the impact of this devastating illness. This story
is dedicated to all of those people, especially the ones who have found
recovery through the 12 step fellowship.
"Anyhow, you boys ordering?" Alice asked, keeping the smile on her face in spite of her impatience.
"He is, I'm heading out," Stew said, taking a huge swig of coffee.
"What? You're leaving me?" Ted asked. suddenly panicked at the prospect of being left alone with the task.
"I'll come back," Alice said, sensing her intrusion, and sidled away.
"You need time to think," Stew said, and swallowed the rest of his coffee. "Geh- I gotta stop at one cup, I know better."
"No, no, no, no, no," Ted puttered, making a grab for Stew's jacket in a desperate attempt to keep him there. "I need you to talk me through this!"
"I can't tell you what to say, you gotta figure that out for yourself. He's your son, you're making your amends."
Ted just looked at him, his slumped posture, large eyes and slightly protruding lower lip making him look too pathetic for Stew to bare. "Don't ask him for anything, just offer. Let him know how you feel, what you've been working on, and then leave it. If he responds, we'll go from there."
"And if not?"
"We'll go from there, too.
Ted nodded but still looked lost as he glanced down at his mug. He seemed to be searching the liquid for some spark which didn't come. Stew sighed and sat back down, drawing his attention back to him.
"What do they tell you to do when you don't know what to do?" he asked, trying to guide him without telling him.
Ted thought, his face showing the strain, and hesitated. After a long while the spark finally came: "Pray?"
"Right, 'sought through prayer and meditation', that's how it goes. And remember, praying is the talking part, meditating is the listening part. So meditate, and see what comes." Stew didn't wait for a consent but stood up again and fished out his wallet to throw a tip on the table. "You call me when you're done, and we'll talk."
Before Ted could respond Stew turned and walked away, leaving him alone in the din of the busy diner.