The second watch of the evening was coming to a close as Sarah tried to locate an open diner in the Deep South. She’d driven for hours and needed food.
Fog crept in as she approached a small town with a cluster of stores. Bright light radiated from a single building. The lighting seemed extreme, but grabbed attention. The sign read, “Alagan’s Family Restaurant.”
She walked into the small, yet open room decorated in Retro 60’s with white walls, red furnishings and a checkered floor. Her shoulders slumped, and she viewed her feet; the result of high school bullying for a fish shaped birthmark on her face. The only available booth in the back was a four person seat, and she took it.
Coffee was served, and she buried her head in the menu until the bell from the door changed her attention.
A man with thick dark hair walked inside. Everyone in the diner watched him. He took the seat which faced her at a left angle, and with all the stares he was getting she wondered if he were someone important. When she gave him a closer look she couldn’t breathe.
Hills and valleys of scars gave portrait to what she assumed was a past fire. She looked back down at her menu.
Whispers could be heard and the place became ablaze with curiosity. She sensed the uncaring excitement of the patrons. Her heart beat faster, and she felt sick as her own memories of what it felt like to be an outcast returned.
He looked up, his blue-gray eyes met hers, and she noted they were perfect. His dark brown eyebrows had been trimmed, and they were healthy too.
If only she could rise from her seat and protect him from the gawkers, but her own self-consciousness wouldn’t allow it. She wished others could see he was more than a face. She crossed her arms on the table.
“Oh, dear Lord,” she prayed. “Thank you for sending us Jesus, who gives us strength in this world. In your family, there are no black sheep. The Lamb of God loves us equally. Please, let me feel your peace, and bless this man. Amen.”
She tried hard not to glance up, but couldn’t resist, and when she did he was waiting. Pain was written on his face, but not in his eyes, they radiated with a likeable, enduring love. Joy filled her heart at having his attention.
He sat still as she memorized each scar on his forehead, cheeks, and chin and wondered if his flattened lips were once full or thin. Holes were all that was left of his nose, and she could tell that at one time he was quite handsome.
They each ate their meals, and she felt as though they had dined together. She continued to look at him and him at her. No words were ever spoken. No words were needed.
He rose from his seat and nodded her way, displaying a slight smile before leaving. She watched all the curious stares again. As the door closed after him, the diner felt cold and lifeless.
She reflected about entertaining angels in the Bible and believed she’d just encountered one. Perhaps he was sent to help her, even though her thoughts were of helping him. She felt blessed to have had the experience.
The following day she returned to the diner. She took her place in the front seat.
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