Waffle House, 24 Casey Jones Lane, Jackson, Tennessee
She walks in first and chooses not to sit by the window. I don’t say anything. Instead, I sit across from her in the booth she’s chosen.
Woman and child walk past us, pushing through the swinging door that leads to the bathrooms. The mama is short and stocky and I don’t realize she’s the mama at first. Thought it was just two fat girls. But no: woman and child. I glance through the window in the swinging door and see that the mama is sticking out of the ladies’ room, just half of herself. Maybe she’s got her pants down. She’s looking out the same little window and I turn around to see what she might be checking for. It’s not obvious, so I turn back around and she ducks back into the bathroom.
In the fridge I can see tomato juice in little cans and apple juice in little cartons, like you’d pack in a kindergartener’s lunch box. Orange juice circulates and beats against the plastic walls of the commercial beverage dispenser. It mirrors the window opposite—streaked with sweat, post-rain. Across the street, Casey Jones Village attracts families from out of town who stay in the motel that they probably wouldn’t stay in if they knew which locals did too.
Waiter brings us our food and begins to refill our coffee mugs. He pulls the pot of black away and I notice a lipstick stain on my mug’s rim. I rub it off with my thumb.
I feel like it was supposed to come with toast.
This place smells like woman.