The smell of blackened bacon and flattened hairspray stuffed the room while the two lovers stared into each other’s red glazed heavy eyes. They sipped their instant coffees in silence as the waitress – a woman whose latter stage of pregnancy was of the kind that was so noticeable that the two lovers could only stare down at the table to avoid gawking at the round mass that edged its way over the counter and appeared to grow infinitely larger and claustrophobically closer to them until they believed it might envelop their very existences – asked them if they were ready to order. The two lovers glanced down at their menus as they squinted their eyes in an attempt to steady the shifting black letters, feigning contemplation before deciding upon that which they knew they would order all along. Absorbing unspoken words into their blurred minds, they reflected on the events that had led them to this pathetic state of affairs, to a drunken Valentine’s Day celebration spent at a Waffle House at two in the morning: the woman’s decision to sleep in for the first time in weeks, a sleep so comforting and purifying that she awoke in the afternoon feeling cleansed, as though life was filled with such immeasurable possibilities that no power, be it Fate, Destiny, Chance, or God, could have any affect on her present state whatsoever except only to somehow (she did not think it possible) improve her disposition until she reached a state of blissful nirvana that only existed in mythology; the man’s decision to wake up early and binge watch Netflix while his lover slept in the other room, spending half that time browsing the extensive list of movies and television shows that were offered to him in an attempt to find the perfect media to satiate his unspoken and (he would admit) embarrassing desires, ultimately deciding upon a movie that he hadn’t seen since childhood in the hopes that it would trigger a nostalgic outburst of emotional energy which might bring him to tears or inspire him to triumphant action; the two lovers’ mutual decision to stay in that evening and relax so that they might shower and prepare for a night of romance the likes of which no two lovers had ever seen before, only to later realize that they would rather prefer to continue staying in and consume copious amounts of alcohol and sing karaoke to each other, pretending that their combined harmonies had the power to produce a tangible love that any who heard this music would instantly fall in a trance of supreme serenity; and, finally, their decision to placate their gurgling bellies with the greasiest food they could procure at this ungodly hour of the night, a time when no doubt others were sleeping soundly in bed after a romantic evening that certainly ended in an act of physical love that the two lovers could not perform even if they had wanted to at this particular point in time. So there they sat, staring into each other’s pink veiny glassy eyes that they could open only wide enough to see that there was in fact a world around them covered in light. There the two lovers sat, smelling grease and hairspray and yearning for the kind of sustenance only Waffle House could provide, sitting in a comfortable silence, their hearts grinning with the satisfaction of a day well spent.
BIO: Jason Fitzgerald is currently pursuing a Masters in Literature at East Carolina University with a focus on Southern and Appalachian Literature. When not writing unnecessarily lengthy sentences about drunken nights spent in Waffle Houses, he spends his time drinking and going to Waffle Houses. He hopes to one day fulfill his dream of eating at IHOP. Until then, he will settle for vigorously writing fiction to satisfy his creative urges.