Editor’s Choice Award
BY SHELBEY WINNINGHAM
1. relating to a transitional or initial stage of a process.
2. occupying a position at, or on both sides of, a boundary or threshold.
The waitress at the Waffle House definitely thought we were lovers. She greeted us with a seductive grin, like she was in on our little secret, and she didn’t ask if we wanted to split the bill—she just brought us one ticket: one blueberry waffle, two orders of hash browns, a side of bacon. I noticed the two middle-aged men in the booth adjacent to ours staring at us over the brims of their coffee mugs; did they think we were lovers too? And what’s more, were they repulsed at the thought, or were they a little turned on by it? That wasn’t something I wanted to think about. Besides, I was too drunk, and it was too late for me to really think clearly. When my lover who was not my lover at all asked me if I was ready to go, I struggled to remember where we were. I could have been in any Waffle House in the world; they were all the same place after all. I imagined entering the Waffle House in Conway, Arkansas and exiting the Waffle House in Aurora, Colorado, just 463 miles from the Great Salt Lake Desert. When I awoke the next morning, sleep gluing my eyelashes together, her body so close to mine in the room we shared, the scent of vodka still filling up my nose, I mourned for all the girls who had ever loved her. Sometimes now, when I look in the mirror, I do not even recognize myself; I have changed so much I doubt you would recognize me either.