I meet Stefanie for breakfast at the Band Box Diner--built the first year of the Great Depression--one of the few box car-style greasy spoons left.
When Stef and I shared digs back in the '80s, her (former) lover Jeff grill-cooked at the Band Box.
It's closed. Stefanie reenacts the end of The Godfather, Part III to express her grief.
But a couple fluorescent bars are on in back. A woman is pouring water into a Bunn coffee brewer. I knock on the window and she holds up ten fingers.
That's only half an hour, so we hang around taking pictures. A woman traveling cross-country waits with us. She's going to check out San Francisco, she says, where her partner's been hired.
When the door opens, we invite her to sit with us, but she pulls a fat paperback out of her shoulder bag and says she wants to read. It's the Harry Potter with the black and blue cover, the one that starts with soul-sucking dementors breaching suburbia.
The place fills up. The cook lubes the grill with oil. He keeps telling people, "Yesterday I served just eighteen people all day. Now I've probably served that many already. And I'm out of onions."
Sitting at the counter, a guy tells the cook about someone getting shot.
After we eat, we sit for three hours, drinking coffee and ice water.
"I'm really an account executive," the waitress says, "but I got laid off." She's very efficient, but she forgets to charge Stefanie for her extra egg, until Stef reminds her.
We leave with the place in our hair.