She called him “honey” and it made him fall in love with her a little. Maybe it was her Southern accent and the way the word dripped from her mouth like out from a comb, or maybe it was the kind of personality that would call a stranger “honey,” and maybe it was her auburn hair and the faint smell of honeysuckle as she glided by, her slightly crooked smile that was perfect in its’ flaws. He would not be there long, just long enough for coffee and a piece of pie at a rest stop in a diner on the road to nowhere in particular; he could stay there and be happy, he thought, order pie here every day and smile at the waitress that called him “honey.”
But the driver came to the table on his way out the bathroom and said it was time to go, so without pause or objection or a moment’s contemplation he grabbed his bag and shoveled the last of his pie into his mouth, took a swig of his coffee, still hot, and left with all the other passengers. He left a tip, change for twenty dollars on a not-five-dollar tab; he did consider writing a note or saying goodbye but he knew he didn’t make that much of an impression, so he walked out silently. He was wrong: she would remember him, and not just for the tip; he was a ghost to her, a spitting image of a summer fling she’d had twenty-years past – the last man she had ever called “honey.”
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