:: Article

Breakfast, Shopping, Sleep


i said i wanted to be cremated
she said “are you ready to order”
i said “yes”
she looked at me
i said “what”
she asked me what i wanted to eat
i thought it was nice of her to ask, that maybe she cared deeply about my nutrition
i flipped the menu over three times and moved my eyes in different directions to indicate i was deciding
i asked about pancakes
she said something and smiled
i didn’t have a clue what she said
i have bad hearing
also i was thinking about ducks
i ignored her and asked about the grits
she kind of hated me
i tried to keep myself from developing unrealistic romantic expectations
i wanted to say something about her t-shirt
i wanted to divorce her after seven years of better than average marriage
i wanted to watch episodes of six feet under with her and make fun of ultimate frisbee

i ordered french toast

she refilled my coffee four times, twice with a slight smirk, once while talking to another
waitress, and once while saying “flannery o’connor, huh?” after looking at the book i had
next to me
i wished it had been kate chopin
i hoped she thought i was a feminist

i watched someone walk up to the jukebox

she handed me my check and said something detached and sarcastic about the music
i smiled
probably a symptom of politeness
or a highly unstable and transient moment of euphoria like one of those periodic table
elements created by scientists that can only exist in laboratory conditions for .03 seconds
i thought, “this is life, i am happy, even though i just ate food that will probably lead to heart disease and kill me when i am forty-seven, what can you do, i have DVDs and carpet, i cannot be justifiably sad”

i thought about trying to say something funny and make her fall in love with me
she was already gone from my table
i felt relief and left ten bucks next to the syrup
i was happy because i had existed for twenty-three years
the likelihood of existing at least for another couple of days was pretty good

i walked outside away from her
into the cold where i could move around and stay awake
and feel all the brains and caffeine mixing inside my head


i left you in the garden section at Wal-Mart
it didn’t last
you found me next to the ceiling fans and light bulbs
i said “it is a good thing these faces that we have”
you said “you are drunk”
you smelled like fertilizer
your foot came close to my foot
i thought of ways to ignore you or change the subject in case you touched me
it wasn’t true what i said about faces
a can of coke for 35 cents
that is a good thing
and watching you try not to look at the crippled woman who examined our receipt as we left the store


i cannot fall asleep on my chest
i feel my heart against the mattress and remember that it is beating
i am afraid i will feel it stop
i am afraid that when it stops i will not know what to do
except keep trying to fall asleep

it is better to lie on my back
and forget i am constantly living
that i am something that dies

Daniel Spinks has existed since 1984. He lives in Athens, Georgia with his iPod.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Tuesday, February 13th, 2007.