A Real Sweet Spot
Late September Evening, Waffle House
An old man whines to his wife about his waffle. He says it’s too cold to melt the butter. The waffle arrived at his table at least fifteen minutes earlier. She tells him to send the waffle back. He says his legs hurt. He hates this old people thing. The thing that causes the red spots on his legs. The new special socks aren’t working. They need to take them back and get different ones. She says, okay we will go to the store when we leave. The new hot waffle arrives, and he spreads the butter.
The windows have condensation collecting on them. It’s freezing in here. I’m glad I brought a sweater, even though it’s still hot outside.
A man is eating with his mother. They discuss what he should play on the jukebox. They settle on Three Doors Down, Creed, and Lynyrd Skynyrd. He goes to the machine and inserts some money. “Simple Man” starts the set.
A teenage couple sits at a booth, not talking. There is a set of parents at each booth flanking them. The parents occasionally talk to the couple and even help them place their orders. One of the mothers takes photos. From inside and then through the window outside. It’s a curious situation. The teenagers are dressed up and wearing corsages. They appear to be on a special date.
The old man and his younger wife get up to leave. They stop at our table, and he points to my ring. I like your ring, he says. That’s a good stone. Lapis lazuli. It’s magical. Helps you find your divine purpose and opens your third eye chakra. Gets rid of negative thoughts, too. The Egyptians loved those. He unbuttons the top of his shirt to reveal a dense patch of silver chest hair and a large dark blue stone medallion suspended from a thick gold chain. See, I wear one myself. Enjoy these years, he tells us, they’ll be the best of your life. A real sweet spot. They head towards the door. The waffle is still on their table. Only two bites gone.