The door blasted open as the icy wind snatched it out of her hands. In stepped a well-dressed woman with frosty white hair and chilling blue eyes. Her black slick dress hugged her body like a well-fitted glove, and the wind's frozen embrace crushed her already oppressed soul into a clear perfect diamond of intense sadness. She struggled to get the door closed, pulling hard against the frigid grip of the wind.
As she battled against the sub-zero wind, which was determined to invade her newly-found sanctuary, she remembered back to 1994 and the storm that plagued her hometown in Mississippi. She walked a quarter of a mile against the wind and now it was back to take its revenge. Like she did back then, she mustered up her strength and fought hard against the wind's endless assault.
An older woman looked up from pouring a man some coffee to see the woman struggling with the door. The elderly waitress slowly made her way through the aching of the arthritis that the frosty wind had now awoken, over to help her. She noticed the tears in the woman's blue eyes as they finally closed the door.
The elder waitress thought, This blasted storm, of all the curses I'm facing this day, it had to come and petrify my bones with its stinging arctic breath. She began to rub the icy chill from her arms as she looked up into the woman's sad eyes and said, "Going to be a bad stormy night."
"Yeah," the woman said, "thanks for your help.” Suddenly, she caught the aroma of strawberry shampoo. She remembered that smell; that's the shampoo my mom used. She flashed back to the millions of times she hugged her mom and smelled her hair. She turned her head, ashamed of the tears in her eyes as she shuddered through the emotions and shook off the residue of the brutal wind. Her eyes leaked with more tears as she turned to the diner owner; through her blurry watery vision, the woman thought, for a second, that the waitress was her mother. The same frosty gray hair, the same short height, and the same sweet voice broke through the thawing of her mind. She knew this was impossible, her mother was gone; her mother, another victim of the dreaded virus that had recently taken many lives and ruined the rest.
As she sat down to eat a snack, the woman dabbed her wet eyes with one of the napkins provided by the dispenser on the counter. This diner was the only business open, for the rest of the town was closed because of either the storm or the virus. Beyond a doubt, it was a haven for the woman, a break from the chaos that swept through her life and this new tundra world.
Now the woman's eyes were dry and she could see that it was not her mother. Her gray hair, her round body, her brown eyes, and wrinkled face said it all. The woman felt ashamed to have thought that the old woman was her mother. This brought on more tears; not tears from the tundra cold wind, but from lovely memories of her mother: laying in bed as her mother told her a story, her mother bent over to kiss her forehead, the smell of strawberry shampoo filling her nose as dreams of strawberries fill her sleepy mind.
"What can I get you?" the waitress asked, as the woman reached for another napkin and began to dab away the tears, but not the memories. After looking at the menu on the back wall over the counter, the woman ordered a strawberry tart with no whip cream. She loved strawberries, just like her mother. She remembered the time her mother took her to a local strawberry field when she was five.
Suddenly, over the diner's speakers, the Beatles’ song “Strawberry Fields Forever” began to play on the radio and she remembered her mother showing her which ones to pick and which ones not to pick. That was the first time she ever tasted the sweet acidic flavor. She thought that she could stay in that strawberry field forever. She laughed a little, wiping the last of the tears away. It was a good memory, one that she would never forget.
When the waitress brought her order, the tart was still smoking; and oh, the sweet aroma was to die for, making her mouth water. She took her first bite. Suddenly, she was back in her mother's cozy kitchen watching her mother measure out the ingredients, mix them together, press the crust, add the sugary scrumptious strawberries (giving her one), align the strips of dough carefully on top, put the pie in the oven, and sit down with her cup of coffee. Impatiently, as a little girl she would watch the pie bake through the oven window.
When the pie was finished, she would sit at the dining room table watching anxiously as it cooled. Finally, her mother placed a plate in front of her. The beautiful rosy filling embraced in a light brown crust, the enticing aroma, the enthusiastic coming sweetness, and the gentle grumbling of her tummy watered her mouth, motivating her to pick up her fork and dig into the culinary art piece.
At the first bite, the woman was back at the roadside café. She looked around expecting to see her mother. When she realized her mother was still gone, she thought the tart was exactly like her mother's strawberry pie. This was the last thought that went through her mind when the diner exploded, Strawberries plastered the scene as a strawberry-loaded truck crashed through the diner taking the lives of everyone inside. The woman flew off into a never-ending field of strawberry heaven as John Lennon sang "Strawberry Fields forever." she found her mother waiting for her, holding a wicker basket, motioning her to come.
Larry is an award-winning published poet. He enjoys writing, reading and drawing. He is dependable and kind-hearted. He puts these attributes into his writing, along with what he is feeling. He tries to express these feelings to those who read his work.