Thursday, September 10, 2009
Pancake Holes, part two
We went to Denny's on Tuesday.
I decided I'm never going to use the phrase "I went to Denny's", only "We went to Denny's", because it is always a we and never an I. It was the day after Labor Day, and we got there a little early for our Denny's posse style--about nine o'clock. Didn't cramp it though. Nobody there but us. When one of us came late, he texted me to say "Where are you guys sitting?" and someone cleverly said, "Tell him we're the booth with people in it".
Someone else very generous offered up their credit card to buy for everyone, to host a gorging celebration of sorts, a new kind of Denny's experience, probably a one-time, and we took it to town. We've had better times and worser times at Denny's, good times with just the carafe and some seasoned fries, and AJ's vampire contacts, good times too with seven or eight Grand Slams.
This time, we really took it to town. I can't remember a time when anyone ever ordered an appetizer, and this time we got two before everyone had even arrived. We had shakes. Three different shakes? Or two. I think three, yes, one of each flavor. Chocolate for Kyle, strawberry for Ames, vanilla for Jeremy. Seven Diet Cokes, one regular Coke. We had double cheeseburgers, chicken strips; there was a French Toast Slam and a Rascal Flatts quesadilla (there were actually tiny pieces of them in it) and club sandwiches and mozarella sticks and even mini burgers, to go along with the bigger ones, I suppose. Onion rings on the mini burgers, mmmm. Matthew's customary dish of pickles and fizzy fruit drink sat snugly alongside all the regular food, to remind us of our humble beginnings. At least, I think that's what they were there for. If I had remembered, I would have gotten some peanut butter pie.
It was pleasant, and a smaller Denny's gathering, comparatively, we've had at least fifteen people there a few times, at one of the longer tables. Those are always fun, the long table-gatherings, because you have the sense of being on some kind of bus or train with a bunch of people you really like on your way to somewhere exciting. At least, I do. Because I'm seven, and I like trains.
Tuesday was a smaller gathering, a circular one, kind of plush. Like fuzzy plush, like warm and comforting and concentrated, like a stuffed animal. I was nestled in between the wall of the booth, the front of the table, the wall of the Denny's, and a person. I would have preferred a person and a person and the booth and the table, no wall, but I suppose it was nice to have my own little bit of wall, too. From time to time, while everyone was talking and Matthew and Kyle were spouting about some deep-fried pickles, or something, I would bury my head behind the person I was sitting next to. Just to squeeze my head in there and feel nestled. I talked to my shrink on the phone for a while. In the middle of Denny's, with everyone carrying on their conversations unworriedly around me. He told me, "I'm glad you called". I was glad I called. Jeremy threw a lesbian-bride smile across the table every seven minutes to make me smile when I had big fat tears. There was so much absorbing of comfort and greasy onion rings going on. While I absorbed and greased and everyone else absorbed and greased a smiling beautiful girl from high school, a year younger than me, came flittering in with her tall dad, who is my friend, and some young man I did not recognize. She smiled excitedly, happily, warmly at me and had that Look in her eyes! They sat kitty-corner to us, the two younger people across from her dad, and began to talk to him very urgently.
In the parking lot we hugged and talked and they have dated for three weeks. I squeezed her so tight.
I can't say that I have had many Denny's experiences as great as last night's was. There have been worse, and there have been better, there have been knee-cuddles and Shia the Beef dolls karate chopping people, there have been vampire contacts (mentioned above) and Heidi's ex-boyfriends sticking around and Logan Kendells and Tiny Cowboy and forks thrown all kind of distances.
Tuesday night, with Jeremy calmly spreading mayonnaise all over the leftovers of Emily's club sandwich with a toothpick across from me, was one of those perfectly placed visits. Not one of the ones when we've been going every night for a week, not one of the ones where we haven't seen each other for six months. There weren't any newcomers or random people, each person was there. It wasn't the middle of the night, we weren't especially hyper, nothing remarkable had really happened that day. It was just a visit. And sometimes, those visits are exactly what one needs. I mean we. What we needs.
(Click Pancake Holes for part one the original)
at 9:45 AM