BECAUSE I LOVE HER
by Erica Plouffe Lazure
Because I love her we will cross four states and a time zone to find a Waffle House, because it reminds her of home, but “only the good parts.” Because I love her we will order the hash browns scattered, covered, chunked, and smothered, with a side of waffles as big as the browns themselves. Because I love her we will sit on the same side of the booth, hold hands under the table, and down the hours-old coffee that holds a dull black pall even after six creamers. Because I love her we will return the “are you together?” look the waitress gives us with a “yes, we are” and exchange hickeys as we wait for our hash browns to arrive, in case she wanted to stop wondering. Because I love her we will split the waffle, but not the tab. Because I love her we will pay the tab with my lucky twenty and I will leave the change as a tip. Because I love her we will return homeward, careening down the dark farm town roads, the crossings, and onto the Interstate. Because I love her we will stop at the McDonald’s rest stop near Lothorian because she wants fries, and when I say I am surprised she’s still hungry, she will say I ate more than my half of the waffle. Because I love her we will try not to argue while we wait in line for the fries, but we do anyway, and when I collect the fries she knocks them out of my hand, and as they sprawl across the tile floor, a kid in line says, “man, that’s cold.” Because I love her we will not bother to pick up the fries and because my lucky twenty is gone, we can’t pay for the fries we can no longer eat. Because I love her we will sit in the food court with no food or money, across the table from each other, and I tell her this is not about the waffle. And because I love her we will not leave; we will stay there, holding hands or not, our twin hickeys mellowing to brown, talking or not, about what made her mad or not, about what life I want to build for us or not. Because I love her.
Erica Plouffe Lazure is the author of a flash fiction chapbook, Heard Around Town, and a fiction chapbook, Dry Dock. Her fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, the Greensboro Review, Meridian, American Short Fiction, The Journal of Micro Literature, The Southeast Review, Fiction Southeast, Flash: the International Short-Short Story Magazine (UK), Vestal Review, National Flash Fiction Day Anthology (UK), Litro (UK), Meniscus (Australia), and elsewhere. She lives and teaches in Exeter, NH and can be found online at ericaplouffelazure.com/.