It's been awhile. Over a year, actually. I figured you were long overdue for a story. This is an excerpt from the FINAL CHAPTER OF MY BOOK!! That's right; I'm on the last chapter. It's been quite a ride, but all good things must come to an end.
For more details about what I've been up to in the intervening 12 months and 20 days since our last correspondence, sign up for my newsletter.
I wake up on Patrick’s couch. The sun is just starting to come up and I am alone. The inside of my mouth tastes like fermented cigarette butts. My tongue feels sour, like it sat overnight in a mixture of lemonade and warm milk and everything had sucked in through the pores.
I sit up and rub my eyes. When I open them I see Dolly, Patrick’s 9-year-old Maltese, looking at me from her bed across the room. She continues to stare at me in disinterest for a few more moments, before releasing a sigh and burrowing her head into the center of her curled-up body.
I replay the events of last night in my head. She never said if she was dating anyone now, and I never asked. But neither one of us made the effort to be flirty. I don’t know, I guess there’s something about a despondent, cagey, financially ambiguous grad student rambling on about a Wittgenstein documentary that comes across as not-sexy. I’ll never figure women out.
I make as little noise as possible as I put on my shoes and leave out the front door. I put my mom’s red S-10 into first and release the parking brake. The engine revs as the truck lurches forward. Up the quiet street, down the on ramp, onto the freeway.
I’m on 75 South, dreaming about the stiff twin bed mattress waiting for me at my mom’s house. It’s hard to think when your brain feels like cotton.
I’m wishing this thing had cruise control. How many times have I had this thought? How many blurry mornings have I made the trek from East Atlanta to Griffin, and audibly expressed my frustration that the one vehicle that I have at my disposal when I come home happens to be the only one without cruise control. I wonder how much it would cost to install it. Is that even the kind of thing that you can get installed?
I push in the clutch and shift into fifth. There’s gotta be a way.
I settle in my seat and scan the mostly-empty highway. Two motorcycles race past and continue down the interstate. I bet I could do it, I think, as I watch the cyclist up ahead, weaving gracefully in and out of traffic at unimaginable speeds.
The sun comes in over the tree line. Rays of light spray from the shrubbery along the median as mounds of tarp and cardboard shuffle awake beneath the overpasses. I crack the window and let my fuzzy thoughts escape into the unsullied Atlanta morning.
I’m looking for a Waffle House.
-- the end