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September 20, 2017 | Fiction

Mema's Alaskan Taco Hut

Lauren Dostal

Mema's Alaskan Taco Hut photo

After, we slunk back to Mema’s Alaskan Taco Hut and I crawled into a booth and ordered with two fingers like we were stuck in a Mad Men b-reel. I couldn’t see my hand held up, but from this distance it looked like the wait staff could easily mistake me for someone sober and gentle. Steady as a horse race.

Since I’d never really known the menu, I ordered two tacos, chicken, and jalapeños, ya, with an extra few dollops of sour cream, oh, and some hot sauce, and wait wait wait, some extra lettuce. And quessssoooooooo, pleeeeeeeeassse. My most charming ever smile. I sat up straighter, even though the tabletop slid under my nose and I remembered at the last minute there was a wrong side to up.

The tacos steamed in my face. I considered ordering a beer. My companion, the silent Bear, hibernated at the other end of the table. I kicked his shin and laughed by way of reminding him of the food in which his face sat.

On the TV a Go Pro of a biker riding up and down a mountain. I watched with my mouth open, bobbing my head with each pound of the tires over rocks. Through streams. Splashing water. A gentleness stirred my soul. Up and down, up and down, the only thing visible his peddling feet and the front tire of his bike bouncing over the gravel. His head turned, my head turned. His feet peddled, my feet kicked the booth. I really had to pee. Isn’t life like this, I thought out loud. Aren’t we all just traversing the great mountains that the universal spirit tosses haphazardly in our path? Up and down, up and down. I am rejuvenated in this man’s striving. I am reborn.

That’s how I wanted them to see me. That’s how I saw myself.

 

image: Tara Wray


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