On a good day the sun is shining through the kitchen blinds like a zebra in the air, and the dust motes dance in the stripes like tiny creatures swimming in a microscope. I watch the dust motes for hours sometimes, dazzled by their acrobatics. I follow one in my mind, dancing with it through the air, free from gravity and the momentous downward pull of life for just those frozen moments. I sit at the kitchen table and eat fruit loops with no milk, or maybe pop tarts with strawberry frosting, or if I’m feeling motivated waffles with grade B maple syrup oozing through the dimples. I stay in the kitchen longer than I should, watching the dust motes until the sun has risen high in the sky and illuminated the world. On these days I feel like I know what to expect.
On a bad day the sun is covered in clouds and fog and uncertainty, and I can’t see the dust motes in the kitchen. I know they are there, but not being able to see them makes me uneasy, unable to relax or even get hungry for breakfast. Sometimes when the sun is hiding I hide too. I go back to bed and pull the covers over my head, staying there the whole day if necessary, if the sun never comes out from behind the clouds. On a bad day all I want is to wait for the next day, hoping it will be good again.
It was the greasiest spoon I’d ever mustered the courage to step inside of. I nearly slipped out of the barstool as I took a seat at the counter. The waitress approached and slid me an oily menu across the chipped formica, and I caught a whiff of burnt toast and ashtrays. I could sense the residual smoke exiting her lungs on the exhale. She smiled at me and I thought her teeth might fall out and bounce across the counter into someone’s coffee or scrambled eggs.
I asked her what was good today. She told me that the bacon was smoked to perfection and the grits were to die for. Apparently their homemade gravy could induce a spontaneous communion with God, which I wasn’t sure was a good thing. None of this surprised me. I decided to pass on the gravy as I was too hungover to talk with anyone, especially God. I ordered the grits with extra butter and a side of bacon, and a cup of bitter sludge that was supposed to be coffee. I took it to go.
The bacon was delicious, but the grits were an epiphany.