Sasha left the Victorian for the first time since she met the old woman in the park. After looking through her cupboard earlier that morning and realizing all that was left was a can of spam, Sasha’s hunger finally drove her to walk across the street to the 24hr diner at 2am. When she walked out the door she was greeted with pounding rain. She couldn't hear the thunder, but could see the bright flashes of lightning dash across the sky. Instead of going back inside for an umbrella, she just let the thick drops soak through her black t-shirt. As soon as she walked in the diner, there was an overwhelming smell of grilled meat. Sasha picked a corner booth. She couldn’t hear the squeak of the seat as her wet clothes rubbed against the vinyl booth.
When the waitress came by, looking slightly disheveled, she asked Sasha in an exacerbated tone, “What do you want?”.
Sasha picked up the menu and pointed to number 8. The waitress scribbled something on her pad of paper and walked back towards the kitchen. As Sasha sat patiently she couldn’t hear the country pop songs playing quietly over the diner’s speaker. Trying not to loose the sound of music Sasha tried to sing some of her favorite songs in her head. She played them almost as if she was listening to the recorded version on her iPod. She could hear the guitar riffs and the measured beat of the drums. Now Sasha was trying to remember “Don’t Know Why”, one of her favorite Norah Jones songs. There was one line she couldn't seem to remember.
“It was something about the break of day”, Sasha thought.
Reaching the corners of her mind for the missing lyric Sasha began to well up with frustration.
“I can’t remember!” Sasha exclaimed, slamming her first onto the formica table.
The waitress, witnessing Sasha's outburst, quickly plopped a plate of bacon, scrambled eggs, waffles, and hash browns onto the table and scuttled away. The immediate smell of hot cooking oil wafted around the plate. The buttery waffles and the thick cut bacon were exactly what Sasha needed to fill her grossly empty stomach. As she ate Sasha’s anger melted away as she thought about her first meeting with the old woman. The woman never gave her name, she simply began by teaching Sasha how to sign the alphabet by using flashcards. If Sasha couldn’t remember a letter, the woman was never impatient, rather she just waited silently until Sasha signed the correct answer. It was almost as if the woman had no concept of time. There wasn’t even a bed in the woman’s apartment, just shelves upon shelves of books, a small kitchen with two hot plates and two large plush chairs.
Sasha thought to herself, “Does this woman even sleep?”.
“She would have to. The woman has to be nearly one hundred years old, and old people need rest”.
Sasha mulled over the question in her head, all the while shoveling the rest of the food into her mouth. Peering out the window Sasha could still see the flashes of lightning creating the illusion of an enormous crack in the sky.
“I hope someone gets hit by lightning so they know what it feels like being deaf,” Sasha thought.
“No! That’s horrible why would I ever wish that”.
It was as if in Sasha’s head lived a pair of antagonist voices: one a kind old friend and the other a bitter stranger. The two voices battled for dominance and as of late it seemed like the bitter stranger was winning. The only person who was able to quell the awful voice in Sasha’s head was the old woman.