Waffle House, an exboyfriend, and being 18

A memory

It is 1996, and we are seniors in high school. Brian and I had just broken up, so things are weird between us. Susan, Brian and I are at Waffle House, so it must be the middle of the night. I am so happy to just be in his presence, although I am nervous, don’t know what to expect.

Brian leaves our table and walks to the other side of the restaurant to talk to some girls (Did he know them already? Or was he just flirting with strangers? I don’t remember.) You can see his entire demeanor shift when he talks to them. He is giving me and Susan (but I feel it is directed at me and my broken heart) the cold shoulder. He doesn’t need us anymore; he has his new friends.

Susan and I are 18 and bored, and I am hurt. The waitress brings our drinks; Brian had ordered a Coke. I don’t remember whose idea it was (I would love to blame Susan, but it just as easily could have been me) but we decide Brian might like some salt in his Coke. And pepper. And ketchup. And whatever else was on the table.

Stir it up a little bit, and it almost resembles regular Coke.

A few more minutes go by (I am certain we must be laughing hysterically) and Brian saunters over to our table, too cool for school, and grabs the Coke. “I’m sitting over there,” he announces in his 18-year-old cockiness.

He walks confidently over to his new friends, and halfway across the restaurant takes a sip. He spews Coke all over the floor, and he is very angry. I don’t remember much of his reaction as Susan and I are in stitches. He approaches the waitress, asks for a new drink.

Waitress looks at us, looks at Brian’s new girls, looks at him, and says,

“No.”