Angie is working late at the Automat.
It’s past close and she’s been staring out of the front window for the last five minutes, unmoving. Angie finally snaps to and flips the lock. She rests her back against the door and waits for divine inspiration or otherwise to strike her. Last night she and Peggy had sex, and this morning she woke up alone. She eyes her collection of belongings on the counter and stares at the work still to be done. In the hazy orange glow, it doesn’t seem too bad.
Angie sets to work on the tables. She gathers the condiments back to the tray, and gently wiping the tables down with a dry cloth as she goes. She thinks about her room in the Griffith Hotel and what she’d have to do if she had to leave it. She thinks about the slice of pie she’d side aside, Peggy’s favourite. She wheels the cart back to the kitchen. She tosses the rag in with the rest of the laundry and sets up the disinfectant and gets a clean one.
Angie starts with the table nearest to the counter, spraying it down and taking the rag to it. She puts her back in to it, the tables aren’t especially dirty, but she still puts the extra effort in. Each section scrubbed in a circular motioned before being dragged neatly down. She thinks about Peggy never speaking to her again. She drags the rag down in another perfect stripe. Again, again, until the table is pristine, and moves on the the next. The same precise circles and then dragging repeated. She thinks about crying.
There’s a knock at the door. And Angie’s ready to bring her full fury down on some poor patron when she sees it’s Peggy. She untenses. Peggy is almost perfect except if you look close, she's worn down a little, enough to take the shine off and be more like the girl she's very sweet on. Peggy is still at the door waving a little, and she looks a little abashed, but not exactly uncertain of her welcome.
Angie stops staring and goes to unlock the door and let her in. Peggy follows her, and Angie locks the door behind her. Peggy is standing in the middle of the dinner near her usual spot, waiting. and Angie winds closer to her.
“I seem to be inexcusably late.”
“Peg, about last night…”
“I was hoping might be allowed to make it up to you,” Peggy’s puts her bag by her feet, and she’s staring very earnestly. “Worked called me away, but I’ve been thinking about you all day”
“Please, let me,” and Angie is caught for a moment, entranced. Peggy goes slowly towards her, and Angie realizes she's been tying the greasy rag into knots, but Peggy, with her lipstick slight smudged and suit a little wrinkled, says “Please,” again. Peggy's so close she can feel her breath on her lips.
Angie stands straighter and shuts her eyes, and lets Peggy close the distance, lets her press her lips gently against hers, lets her get less tentative, less slow and become a real proper kisses, with the lights on, holding the greasy rag and everything, it's perfect.
“I was going to bring you flowers, but I thought better of it.”
“I was maybe saving you some pie.”
Peggy smiles, “Apple?”
“But I've got half a mind not to let you have any,” looking down at Peggy's hand which have neither a greasy rag nor flowers.
“Well, I might be swayed.”
“Would it help you to know I have secured for us tickets to that show on broadway you like.”
“Back of the theatre and everything,” Peggy says in a way that probably means they are in no way at the back of the theatre.
Angie laughs a little, “Consider me swayed,” and Angie who still has that rag in her hand, says “Why don't you grab a seat and I'll be back in a minute with the pie.”
Peggy sits down, and Angie goes to put the rag away and wash herself up. Angie turns half the lights off and comes back with the extra large slice of pie and two forks, leaving them sharing the pie in a dimly lit diner on a dark night.