by John L. Singleton
LOS ANGELES, CA—
After we passed through the hinterlands of Florida, we stopped at a Waffle House, maybe ten miles before the border. As a kid, my mom had worked at the Waffle House, and sometimes I’d come to work with her and sit at the counter all day, eating hash browns and talking to the customers.
It was a skeezy joint but I loved it there. There was something about the endless parade of anonymous faces that floated in and out of there that made me feel at home. Every day there were different people, a few regulars, but mostly truckers and other travelers that stopped in off the highway on their way to somewhere that wasn’t here.
Celeste ordered the steak and eggs and I had a Coke and a double order of hash browns. While we waited for our food we sat in silence, listening to other people’s conversations. We were too tired to make conversation for ourselves and we’d already been talking for too long. Talking about god knows what. Mostly how we hated Florida and wanted to leave.
“I don’t know why the hell people wanna come retire here. It’s worse than already being dead,” she said.