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The Last Time I Was in a Restaurant

is not supposed to be a monumental memory.

I am not supposed to be hanging on to the memory of

a midnight donut run

a jazz club on Frenchman St.

a witchy tea shop giving away Fuck You Harvey Weinstein cake, just because

a French cafe chain

or a thirty-minute stop at a gas station/Taco Bell.

These memories are special because of the people in them.

Because that Taco Bell is where I went against your recommendation and bought a gaudy, two sizes two big bright red hoodie with the saying, “Mississippi: It’s Longer Than Yours”

Because that cafe was our first attempt at exiting a streetcar in New Orleans, and we failed.

Because those witches were kind and lovely and brewed stunning tea & fed our souls and our morality.

Because that jazz club was authentic and warm and brimming with spirit.

Because that donut run was our last midnight drive together.

I should remember these places, these last few restaurants,

for the conversations held in them.

And I do.

But I remember them too

because I miss fretting about the stares of strangers

the hard backs of ugly seats or

the sticky leather of a booth.

I miss the welcoming spiel of a server,

the murmur of a dozen other conversations.

I miss the jingle of the bell announcing your entrance,

and the awkward eye contact with passersby

as you chomp away in a window seat.

What I miss most is you, but damn it if I wouldn’t love to sit in the booth of a bustling McDonald’s with you tonight.

By Brittany Ashley

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