Dilemma 32 (All Night)

The girls were getting ready to go to a concert with their friends. The concert wasn’t going to start for another two to three hours, but they knew it would be packed so they needed to arrive a couple of hours early. The band had been touring all over the world and was finally going to perform in the city. The girls were very excited. She took a final look at herself in the mirror, satisfied; she patted her dog and walked out.

It was getting more crowded as they got closer to the venue. Seeing the people storming through the gates, she got the feeling that that night was one that she would never forget. They stood close to the stage and waited anxiously for the band.  After two opening acts, a distinct male voice echoed across the auditorium. The crowd screamed, cheered and sang along. She was absorbed by the crowd and the music. With the sound of the bass vibrating in her ear and the lyrics dancing in her brain, it felt almost religious. She was surrounded by thousands of people, yet it seemed there was no one but her and the music.

The show ended at around 2:25 am. They were all famished after the concert. Near the venue was a diner. The place was small and very low-key; the kind of place that would be easily overlooked in the day-time. It emitted a dim light from a distance, but they could spot it since it stood out in the darkness. The diner was completely empty, with the exception of the waitress, the cashier and the cook who were talking by the counter.

“Excuse me, may we please order?” asked one of her friends.

The waitress gave him a dirty look, sighed heavily in irritation and said “kitchen’s closed.”

“Do you have any cold sandwiches or cake maybe?” she asked.

“They’re in the fridge over there, help yourselves. I’m done for the night,” replied the waitress with a yawn as she returned back to her conversation.

Each of them picked an item from the fridge, be it a sandwich or a dessert and returned to the booth. They didn’t care much about the waitress’s attitude or that the two men she was standing with almost didn’t acknowledge their presence. They laughed and chatted about the concert, trying to relive the experience they had just been through.

“It’s 3:00,” said the waitress, who was now standing other their booth. “We’re closing.”

“How much do we owe you?”

They paid and walked out. It didn’t feel as late as it actually was. They walked aimlessly down the street for a while, until they finally decided to part their separate ways.

She didn’t feel like going home; she felt the night wasn’t over yet. She took the subway south of the city. There was a family-owned book store with a tiny café, which was open at all hours of the day. She discovered it by chance, when she used to freelance for a magazine in that neighborhood. She was friendly with the store owner’s son, who always stayed at the store at night. The only reason why the store was always open is because, he would be there.

“Hi,” she said.

“Hey, it’s been a long time,” he replied. The two casually chatted for a while over coffee, before she sat herself in an armchair in the far end corner of the store. It was quiet and cozy; the perfect atmosphere to relax and write. She took her tablet out of her bag and let her inspiration flow on to the page.

She rubbed her eyes and yawned in exhaustion. It was 5:02 am at the clock by the cashier desk, yet she didn’t want to go home. She watched him tune his guitar. Not wanting to disturb him, she went to the coffee machine, made herself a cup and walked around the store. She wasn’t searching for anything in particular, but as she scanned the shelves there was one book that stood out. That’s it, she thought removing it from the shelf. She returned to her corner and began reading as she sipped her latte.

At 5:53 am she paid for the book and left the store, he refused the money for the coffee. She walked purposefully towards the highest building in the city. She hadn’t planned on being in that place at that time, but since it was a five minute walk away she felt it was worth being there. She snuck in and took the elevator to the roof, where she had a spectacular view of the entire city from the top. At 6:06 am she watched the beautiful shades of orange and yellow being painted across the sky.

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