Steak and Eggs
I stepped towards the building and pulled open the glass door. Mom liked family breakfasts with all four of us nestled into booths. There were no booths here. Tables were islands smelling of lemon, scrubbed and covered in paper placemats collaged with local advertisements. I saw no moose heads here either. On the walls were only black and white photographs of a younger town.
“Where do you want to sit?” I asked.
He took two steps past the cash register atop the glass candy cabinet. “Counter?” he said. His question was an answer.
“Counter.” I confirmed, scrunching on the vinyl, in my memory sometimes ripped, and always pulled tight over a hard cushion. Butt firmly entrenched, I tested its spin. Everything in view of the counter had some type of circular motion. The jets in the pop machines swirled sugar bubbles. Cinnamon rolls turned beneath frosting. Order slips tapped slowly back and forth between waitress and cook fingers. I twisted back and forth on the silver spool of a stool that like its counterparts exhaled more squeaks than whirrs of finely tuned machines. The line of the counter, too, was in fact curved, like a horizon. My eyes swept down the path of the seemingly straight, marbled counter that my feet banged against.
“I like the smell.” Dad tugged a menu from its crevasse between napkin holder and ketchup bottle.
“I ate steak and eggs on the day you were born.”
Dad continued his story, “I was so excited. Felt so proud. On the way back to the hospital I stopped at Wedge Inn where you used to rush outside to buy the paper as a little girl.”
“Wedge Inn. I remember.” I couldn’t see the inside in my memory, but knew its triangular shape and the green 7 Up sign placed over the door.
“Your mom was angry. That I stopped, I mean. Instead of coming right to the hospital after chores. Those steak and eggs tasted so good.”
The final flip of his fork was agile, unlike the constant dropping of the remote.
“She wanted to have me at home so badly. But I came out sunny side up. Like a dip, dip egg.” I grabbed a crispy strip of grated potato between my thumb and forefinger.
When I worked on the farm, Dad used to make me breakfast. ‘How many eggs do you want?’ I’d say two. ‘How many toast?’ Four. I would fall asleep in the chair until it was ready.”
“That’s funny. Cute actually that he made you breakfast.”
“Everyday. I loved those fifteen minutes of sleep in the chair.”
“You slept and he made you breakfast?”
“You can see how getting married was a rude awakening.”
“That’s interesting. Ironic. Sound like anyone you know?”
He paused. Mixed hash browns with egg. Chewed.
“Do you need help making that connection?”
“You would go there. Your brother’s grease. It’s different. I was an adult.” He laughed and wiped cheese from his mustache.
“Now it’s time for your history lesson.”
“Oh, it’s just starting now?”