We stopped in North Carolina, near Black Mountain.
There was a waffle house and a rock face with a big
white cross at the top, but we stopped for the waffle
house, which served all night. You poured maple
syrup all over your waffles and then chased me
with your mouth after you ate them because
you know I hate maple syrup. I tried to order
Darjeeling, but they only had Lipton and that
was acceptable. Lipton is good too if you add
enough sugar, or sometimes, milk; or just drink it
black, whichever. The waitress called me sweetie
and you teased me because I look older than you but
I'm the one friendly southern women always call sweetie.
After that interlude inside the waffle house, as we walked
across the parking lot, I started feeling reluctant to leave.
The highway was in front of us, but there were a bunch
of loblollies on each side that seemed to be ushering
me towards them with their wind-blown boughs. So
I grabbed your hand and pulled you in that direction
and you thought I was being really strange, but
you decided to just go with it because you know
I can be spontaneous and really strange, sometimes.
We waited in the woods awhile, and I thought I felt a
presence there, like this wasn't all a waste. Then we went back to
the car where you propped your feet in my lap and resumed reading
to me and just like that I was driving again on the long road to Virginia.