The hostess at Sunrise Bistro Xpress says to sit wherever I want, so I sit on the man with the dirty blond beard and beanie cap. He is sitting on the kitchen floor because he can sit wherever he wants, too. It’s an open kitchen. The cooks cannot sit wherever they want because of capitalism. We can watch the cooks stir a pot of three meat shrimp and grits the size of a small child because of capitalism. I cannot see my brother’s first small child in a city a $475 flight away from Charleston because of capitalism. I can eat a breakfast burrito and grits out of this man’s lap and choose the degree of pain I want in my hot sauce. I can eat myself into a bigger pair of jeans and call it embracing my body type. The man with dirty blond beard has a type of body. It’s a little bonier than mine. I think I could like to feel his starkness in the dark, but the hostess hasn’t been clear about if that’s allowed, if turning the lights out is part of our seating accommodations or a surcharge. I imagine the cooks might like it, not being watched, but they might get burned. Hot grits on the skin. Cooked skin of a quiet man’s hands. What if I want to sit in the grits, I mutter. But it’s not true, never will be. I bet I could lose my skin to the heat for a fee. I could be as ruined as I don’t want—a Lifetime documentary. A memoir that sells.
Art by Melissa Cundieff-Pexa