In July, move into an apartment directly behind a gas station/Wendy’s combo. At night, eat dinner at the kitchen table, look to the right and stare at the glow of the drive thru. Some nights, the drive thru line curves around the building for hours, wonder if the fast paced patrons got gas first. Wonder if they are leaving town or coming. Wonder if they ordered an extra frosty.
A few weeks later, get off the bus, which stops directly in front of the gas station/Wendy’s, and go inside. Craving a slushee. The gas station only has an old Slush Puppie machine. Wonder if it is from 1994, maybe before. Mixing the sweetened, sugary, syrup, with unflavored slush, decide it’s too much work. Calculating pump to slush ratio. Deciding on flavor combo. Before leaving look around the convenience store. Empty, nine o’clock, maybe 9:15. Too late for tourists, not late enough for midnight snacks. Wave at the cashier, think about being neighbors.
Walk outside, through side exit, and cross the drive thru. The headlights of the person waiting for their fries and frosty are bright. Too bright, but try to squint, wave at them. Smile, neighborly.