Winston decided on a whim on a lovely Wednesday afternoon to go to Denny’s to eat. He was craving a mozzarella cheese stick sandwich and fries with a bowl of their chicken noodle soup. It had been two years since his gastric bypass surgery and he was craving junk. He knew that it was well out of his means to actually eat it. His food tolerance had changed completely since he’d dropped from 400 pounds to 180.  If he consumed any of the things that he planned to eat and drink, it would certainly be making a cameo in the diner’s bathroom. However, the hankering for these fried, greasy vittles overcame all common sense. Not to mention the root beer that he wanted to wash everything down with was a no-no as well for his new body didn’t concur with simultaneous food and drink anymore, let alone a carbonated one. Nevertheless, the determined Winston made his way to the counter and sat as the elderly, black waitress came over and handed him the menu with a smile and a cordial, “How you doin’, baby.”

            Winston replied, “I’m fine, ma’am, and you?”

            The lady smiled and said, “Blessed. I’ll give you a few minutes. Anything to drink?”

            “Let me get a root beer,” Winston responded. She nodded, turned and walked away as he looked at the menu. He knew what he wanted since the commercial he saw.  He found everything he was looking for and crudely calculated the price after a few flips of the menu pages. The waitress came back over with his iced soda and straw. She placed them on the counter in front of him and asked, “You decided yet, honey?”

            Winston said, “Yes, ma’am. Let me get a cup of chicken noodle soup, one-a these mozzarella stick sandwiches and an order of seasoned fries.”

            She smiled and said, “Alright, baby. Should be about ten minutes. “

            Winston pulled out his phone and started to peruse his various accounts online while sipping his drink. He let loose smirks and snickers as he read the ridiculous posts by friends and celebrities. After a few moments, the waitress returned with a steaming bowl of the creamy soup. He was a little disappointed because he wanted to have his soup with the meal, but his reverence for his elder squashed any inkling to complain. As she placed the soup and crackers in front of him, he simply said, “Thank you.”

            She responded, “You welcome. Your food should be out shortly.” He let the soup sit there as he glanced back down at his phone to explore cyberspace even further. Winston typed a response to a friend’s comedic, homoerotic message to him. He sent an explanation as to why he had to delete the message because although he found it funny (they’d joked with each other in that manner since grade school), he had to delete it because his newer friends gave him a hard time about such things posted on his wall. As he tapped ‘SEND’ on the touchscreen, the gray haired waitress made her way to his spot with his munchies balanced on the tray. She placed it all before him and walked away. He looked at the food and felt bittersweet about it. He knew that it was about to be delicious, but it was certainly not going to agree with him. The soda had already started to do a number inside of him. He took a deep breath and started. He took a few bites of the sandwich and freshly ketchuped fries followed by a couple spoonfuls of soup. As it went down, he could feel the chaos ensuing. He tried to force a little more down, but the gastrointestinal battle was underway.

            He got up and made his way to the bathroom praying the whole time that no one was occupying the lone stall. He burst through the door and found the stall vacant. He entered it and flipped the latch. He prepared himself by flipping his shirt over his head so that the vomit that was coming wouldn’t get on it. In an instant, everything he had just eaten was in the water of the white porcelain basin. It was quite relieving, but he was very frustrated by the fact that he could no longer seem to enjoy eating. When the ruckus was over, he made his way back out to the counter. He had only eaten about a tenth of the food that he ordered. Disgusted with what just happened, he looked at the bill which amounted to eleven dollars and some change. He collected all of his things and took the bill to the cash register where the old waitress was waiting for him. She took the bill and punched everything into the register. She looked up and asked, “You wanna donate a dollar to the babies?” He looked up and saw the paper balloons strewn around the register of people’s names who had given to the charity that she was referring to. He didn’t even ask what it was for. The way that she said “babies” pretty much sucked the buck out of him. How could he deny? Winston thought, if he ever had a marketing campaign to do, he would use an old lady. They can sell anything.  He handed her his debit card and signed his name on the paper to be hung on the wall. Aside from the philanthropic aspect of his giving, in his own odd way, he always looked for a way to leave his mark somewhere in some obscure way.

            When all was said and done, he took his receipt after exchanging pleasantries with the waitress and walked out. Outside, he pulled out a Newport and lit it. When he put the lighter back in his pocket, he discovered a debit card laying on the pavement. An adrenaline rush momentarily surged within him when he saw it. He reverted back to his days in college when he was the party animal known as, Big Daddy. If Big Daddy had found that stray card, he would have had lived “ghetto fabulous” for the weekend. He would’ve had an abundance of the finest liquors, a few boxes of Dutch Master cigars to roll up marijuana with, some new duds to sport and there would undeniably be a raging house party on campus. When Winston picked up the card, he restrained the “Big Daddy” urges coming to him. He examined the card and saw that the name of the owner was ‘Geraldine’. He immediately felt guilty about any intentions to violate this ‘Geraldine’. The name itself implied that it was an old woman. No teenagers or 20 to 30 somethings are named Geraldine these days. It was clearly somebody’s grandmother, possibly even great-grandmother. Winston’s heart softened and he took on the role of Good Samaritan by taking the card back in to the restaurant and turning it in.

            When he got back to the car, he felt good about himself. Not only did he spare himself the guilt of violating an old woman, but he also prevented any other “Big Daddy” minded low-life from doing any financial damage to Ms. Geraldine. Winston had truly changed. What once was a monikered, gluttonous, criminal minded drunkard was now a kind, goodhearted, sober young man.  He activated turned the ignition and drove off to his next stop.


One Response to “Changed”

  1. Nice. Shows a lot about Winston in just a short period of time.

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