Things Fall Apart

I was talking to a friend yesterday who told me the old diner at the major intersection in my old suburban town collapsed Thursday during the storm.

She said she predicted it. “My ex-husband was a bricklayer, and I know these things. I saw them pointing the bricks, but they were working from the top down. I told my friend G. that you’re supposed to point from the bottom, and that the building would collapse. I was right.”

Such depressing news. This was the little diner where I used to have breakfast with my parents. My mother and father were friends with the owner and his wife, and the diner closed shortly after my mother died. The owner said it was time to take a break, visit the grandchildren.

But I knew better. I know my mom and dad faithfully held it together. Anytime you’d take them to another restaurant, they felt guilty. They thought the diner needed the business. I tried to point out several times that someone who paid cash to put his three kids through Ivy League schools was doing okay, but they told me I was wrong.

There was a new tenant coming in, and the locals under 65 were happy about that — because frankly, the old place was a real dive: orange pleather booths that sagged in the seat, old striped wallpaper stained by decades of cigarette smoke. (They had a small non-smoking section right in back, right next to the smokers.) Window boxes of faded plastic flowers topped the booth dividers.

Now? Who knows? Hopefully something good will spring up in its place.

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