Vignette, Townhouse, 9 a.m.

This is what’s still beautiful about America—a breakfast diner with blue plastic seats where they serve cold powdered eggs and pancakes swimming in oily butter, middle-aged waitresses calling you honey and pouring grainy coffee the color of the backs of eyelids into your cup faster than you can drink it. A table of innocently bigoted graybeards holding their bacon-filled bellies, laughing about fishing and bible studies. An elderly couple motionless except when the man’s basset hound eyebrows leap up at the sight of a server who knows him by name. A pair of white (formerly blonde) haired women having a polite verbal brawl over whose child has been more of a disappointment. A young guy visibly regretting taking a girl out at such an early hour. Remnants of someone else’s syrup sticking your forearms to the tablecloth, and you, alone and distant in the corner booth with everything breaking down but feeling okay, feeling just fine. In this diner all the problems, from the immediate issues of a busted carburetor and having no bed to sleep in to the more general yet pressing matters of dwindling bank accounts, fading friendships, unfound love, white guilt, and the eventual heat death of the universe—it’s all somehow sealed out, somehow negated for an hour by happy people and the kind of food that will kill you faster than cigarettes. And the sun’s coming steamy through the window- you go to pay the bill, they undercharge you. You make up the difference in the tip. There’s a bell chiming as the door swings shut behind you.

About the author

Troy Cunio lives everywhere but usually in Orlando, Florida. He started to ramble as soon as he graduated high school. Since then, his travels…

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Issue 23 · November 2015

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