Scene at a McDonald’s

As I finish setting up my order on the kiosk, I realized that they have no pagers for me to pickup, meaning I have to go to the counter to order. I look around. A man’s hanging out next to me.

He’s disheveled, seems to be going through a rough time in life. He’s poor, but also happy and suffering at the same time. His clothes are dirty and his face is banged up but not bleeding, just a few cuts he’s had at some point in his life.

Seems like life has spared him the worst of it.

“I don’t think this works. They don’t have pagers.”, I say to him.

The man decides to abandon the kiosk and walks away to join the line in front of the counter. I walk around the front of the line and join the back of the line behind him.

“Doesn’t work huh? I was gonna do that after ya.”, he says to me.

“It’s alright.”, I say.

I am holding my tiny while iPhone in my hand. He suddenly gets interested in it as I am holding it and waving it around as if to get rid of something on it. “Oh man that’s a nice phone!”, he says.

“Yeah it’s the smallest thing I could find.”, I tell him.

I twirl it around so he could take a look, as he seems to be like a child now, admiring the phone as I twirl it. “Aaah, I like it. Oh look there’s a nice picture.”

I pause twirling the phone and hold it flat with the screen facing up. The phone screen turns on and is showing a picture of the moon.

“Yeah it’s the default. The moon!”

“Oh look there’s a little moon aahaha”, he says pointing at the picture.

“Oh, you mean the crater? Yeah.”

I am smiling, quite tickled by his happiness. He’s like a small boy now, even though he’s clearly much older than I am, but shorter in stature, physically and spiritually. Life has dealt him some severe blows of late — it’s clear.

The man stops laughing and is quiet suddenly, lost in thought.

“So I take it you’ve been around, huh? Seen life.”, I say to him after a bit.

The man is pensive, still thinking how to respond. His turn at the counter comes and he goes off, orders himself an ice tea and a breakfast. They won’t take EBT, they tell him. He decides to just get the ice tea and skip breakfast, pays with two dollars in cash and waits. My turn comes. I order breakfast and I stand right beside him, waiting.

He decides to speak up finally. “So where are you headed today? What do you do?”

“I write”, I tell him simply.

He goes inward, dives deep. “I could write my life story.”, he confesses.

“No one’s interested in hearing life stories anymore, bro. They’re blind,”, I say to him, smiling, “so they can’t read.”

The man knows I am speaking the truth, decides not to pursue that line of thought anymore. “The last six years have been difficult for me…”, he begins, but stops. He’s lost again.

“The solar cycle lasts 11.5 years for guys. Whatever you’re going through is going to take a while. Just hang on.”, I tell him. I couldn’t care less what he’s going through — you’ve gotta accept life as it comes, not try and ‘fight it’.

The man realizes I am telling the truth because we all know the truth, we all know how life works but we refuse to accept it. He shakes his head slightly. “Is that right…”, he begins and trails off again. He’s clearly working hard inside himself. Barely has energy to share himself.

“Yep”, I tell him.

“Damn”, he says.

“Don’t get into relationships they’ll ruin you.”, I tell him.

Too many human beings today want to get into ‘marriages’ and ‘relationships’. It’s unusually stupid. Whenever a person came into my life, my only goal was to love them incessantly. I never cared what the other person thought about what was going on. One of them got ‘married’ to me, even though I told her I was only in it so she could experience spiritual union with Christ. But you know, women don’t hear what they’re being told nowadays, lost in their own stupidity most of the time. As I write this, there’s a little 5 year old at the McDonald’s, lost on her phone already. She’s lost all femininity, and looks like a little animal, clambering up ungracefully onto her stool. Most little girls are very beautiful by nature, but this one is the ugliest one I’ve ever seen. Her mother is equally dumb, but she’s holding another little baby that’s unable to break eye contact with me, smiling and squirming as I smile back at her. This is how it is when life meets life — it’s celebratory.

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