Inspired by the song “Sober” by Childish Gambino.
Darius leaned against the faded as he drank from his cup while playing angry birds on his phone. He could hear one of the employees working in the back-washing dishes and a man playing an arcade game, but Darius remained focused on his game. The time is nine-thirty at night.
The bell on the door rang and the sound of heels clicking across the floor grabbed his attention. He turned his head slightly and saw an average height olive-brown girl walking past him to the cashier. He stared at her for a few seconds until she turned her head looking in his direction. Darius quickly went back to playing his game not being noticed by her.
“Hey Jasmine, what can I get you this time?” asked the worker.
“Oh, the usual,” she replied.
The worker gave her a slight smile as he wrote down her order and pinned it on the rack spinning it slightly. Jasmine walked to an empty table, pulled the chair from under and sat down crossing her legs. Darius glanced at her from the corner of his eye in hopes that he doesn’t get caught.
“You got to be kidding me,” said the man playing the arcade game.
The man tall and bulky kicked the machine as he walked away from it and quickly spotted Jasmine messing with her phone. “Hey, how are you doing? They call me Ty, but you can call me Tyler. What’s your name, little mamma?”
For as long as he could remember Ty always had a peculiar way of talking to Woman. And like always Darius came and cleaned up his mess, clearing things up with the lady in question.
“Hey, how are you holding up?” asked Darius as he sat down in front of her.
“Um, uh, I’m fine just talking to this nice gentleman here,” replied Jasmine.
“My bad, Darius, I didn’t know she was with you,” said Ty.
“It’s all good man, I’ll talk to you later,” said Darius.
Ty nodded his head and walked out of the diner, leaving just him, Jasmine, and the workers inside. The time is nine-thirty in the evening.
“Thank you for that. I almost didn’t know what to say,” said Jasmine smiling.
“No problem, Ty can be a handful at times, but he’s a big softy at heart,” said Darius smiling back.
“Name is Darius by the way, and yours?”
“Jess-, Jasmine, my name is Jasmine,” she said extending her hand out.
Darius lets out a peal of small laughter as he reached his hand towards hers shaking it. “Almost got me with the fake name I see,” joked Darius.
“Yeah, I usually say that to guys that I’m not interested in. But I’ve seen you around here, are you a regular too?” she asked.
“Yeah, been coming to this place since I was in high school. I considered it a safe place,” said Darius.
“Really, how so?”
“Let’s just say I wasn’t the king of the jungle, more like the jester,” replied Darius.
“I understand, I’ve kind of been through the same thing,” said Jasmine.
Jasmine laid her phone gently on the table and took her index finger and rubbed it against her arm. Darius could tell by looking at her that she was mixed with black and white, which was considered taboo by some in the black community. Darius hated it and figured that no one should be treated that way.
Jasmine sat up as she smiled at Darius for lifting her spirits up with his kind words. He always had a way with words when it came to encouraging people. It was too bad no one could ever do the same for him.
“You smile a lot, don’t you?” asked Darius.
“No,” replied Jasmine gloating.
“You don’t have to lie to me, I won’t judge,” said Darius.
“Yeah, okay, that’s a lie if I ever heard one. But if you must know I smile because I find you very charming,” stated Jasmine.
“I’m not that charming if so, I wouldn’t be single right now,” said Darius.
The lights flickered for a few seconds and Jasmine looks up to see the lights. “Well that’s new,” she said as she regained her focus on Darius.
“New for you, it always does that around this time,” said Darius.
“What!? I don’t remember it doing that,” said Jasmine.
“Don’t be concerned about it, just focus on me and it won’t bother you at all,” stated Darius.
Jasmine closed her eyes for a few seconds and re-opened them as the lights flickered again. This time she ignored it and kept her focus on Darius the whole time. He smiled letting off a gently laugh as he crossed his arms.
“Do you always do what you’re told?” asked Darius.
“I was just simply following a suggestion, that’s all,” she replied.
“Fair enough. So, tell me do you have a boyfriend?” asked Darius.
“No, I don’t,” she replied.
“I think you’re lying. Someone like you shouldn’t be alone,” said Darius.
“Someone like me?” she asked.
“You’re smart and ambitious. You have a plan to do something with your life, someone like you deserves to have someone,” explained Darius.
Jasmine smiled again at him, running her hands through her black hair. “Wow! That was nice of you. Most guys just make mention of how I look,” she stated.
“I’m not most guys,” He said calmly.
“How so?” she questioned.
Before Darius could answer her question, the diner blacks out throwing him completely off guard. He looked around to see if he could see any of the workers, let alone Jasmine. He hears no one until the lights brighten up the place once more. He looked over to the kitchen and sees the workers still busy and he glanced over to Jasmine to see her with her arms crossed leaning against the back of the chair.
“I’m still waiting on your answer,” she said.
“I’m sorry, what did you say?”
“Do you have a girlfriend?”
“Because I’m different.”
He sat there for a brief minute trying to find a way to tell her that a nice guy like him always get pushed to the side as, the players, the ‘ballers’, or the tough guys got all the attention. For as long as he could remember. Darius could never get a girl to take him serious enough. Yeah, they’ll talk to him and do things together. But when it came to taking it to the next level, he was struck down by the “you’re too nice” excuse.
“In time I will tell you,” he answered back.
The lights flickered again and they both filled the diner with their laughter. They suddenly stopped and silence replaced the room that was once filled with laughter.
“I’m sorry, I never got your name,” said Jasmine.
“Oh, it’s Darius.”
“Nice to meet you,” said Jasmine.
“Jasmine! Your order is ready!” shouted the worker.
Darius took his phone out and slid slowly across the table just stopping at her fingertips. Jasmine looked down to see his phone and looked back at him. Darius leaned back against his chair waiting patiently for her to make a move. He looked back at the phone, gently breathing for a second until she picks it up and began to put her number in it. Darius smiled a little, but not enough for her to see it.
“There you go, if you want to have another one of these talks, I’m all ears,” said Jasmine.
She slides the phone back to Darius, who without a word grabbed his phone and walked back to his original table. He sat down and leaned against the faded blue wall, drinking his soda, and playing a game on his phone.
Jasmine got up from her chair and grabbed her food smiling at the worker as she walked away. She walked past Darius never making eye contact with him, walking out of the door ringing the bell once more. He turned around to see her turn the corner and disappear without a trace. He looked up to see that the time is now nine thirty-one in the evening.