That Deli on 5th and Washington

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I still go to that deli on 5th and Washington that we used to go to every morning
because now it’s the only place where my sanity comes in a small cup of coffee.

That waitress with the short red hair recites the specials like a lullaby
and I often imagine you sitting across from me with our hands intertwined.

I’d order the pancakes off the kids’ menu because it comes in the shape of a smiley face
and you’d always laugh at me and shake your head.

But then you’d order the All American Breakfast and ask them to take away all the good stuff but add extra bacon because you’re picky.

I sit in the same booth each time I go there even though they are never busy;
it’s that same one near the window with the red half broken cushion.

I remember last May when everyone went to say goodbye to you.
I lied, came here, and told you I was sick because I didn’t want you to see me cry.

As you boarded that plane, I took a seat on that red half broken cushion
that seemed to be a lot more broken than before.

My phone started to ring but the only thing I was checking was the menu
that I had memorized and permanently imprinted in my head.

Then I answered it and heard your voice saying, “Get Me an All American Breakfast,
no potatoes, no toast, and some extra bacon. Only 364 breakfasts without me.”

Then that plane took off towards that country you grew up dreaming about
and the only thing I dreamt of that year was you.

I finally moved out of that dorm across the hall from those Swedish twins
and into that apartment we’d been looking at for months.

But now, I sit here staring at that 364th pancake smile that no one
had made fun of, knowing that tomorrow some one would.

I still come to this deli on 5th and Washington because it’s the only place where
my sanity for the past 364 days has come in a small cup of coffee.





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