I leave work at 11pm, dead on my feet, starving, nothing to eat since lunch. Just past the interstate there's a Waffle House. I pull in, grab a newspaper, sit at the counter, and order a double quarter pound bacon cheeseburger.
I can smell it on the griddle as it cooks. I watch them slide the cheese on with a spatula. It stays on the griddle until the cheese melts over the patties like a perfect coat of golden paint. These are stacked onto a bun and served up with a paper thin slice of red onion that goes edge to edge. Pickles, lettuce, onion, tomato, mustard, and, oh yeah, the bacon crisp and salty ... every bite of this thing is like eating sunshine and music and America.
Five AM. I wake to heartburn. My sweat smells like onion. There's an undercurrent of mustard and bacon to my spit. My stomach feels twice as heavy as it should. I'm two weeks away from my 45th birthday. I know better than to eat such meals in the shadow of midnight.
I'd do it again. I'd do it again.