Waffle House, West Memphis

The lady in the booth behind me is crying into her scattered, smothered, and covered. It’s none of my business but there it is. She is obviously a regular here. The waitress sits down with her and the story pours out between sobs. She had just quit the motel next door. She was a cleaning lady there. It was also her temporary residence, in between apartments. Her horrible excuse for a boss had been caught steeling, and was let go. She talked about how this woman had been the owners favorite. How the owners had given her tormentor the old furniture, she herself had asked for and been denied, to set up house keeping. The owner’s favorite, and she betrayed them. The real stinger was that she had been paying her boss for the room, and the woman had apparently been pocketing the money. The owners were demanding she pay for a room for two weeks, at full cost. They accused her of lying about it. Her house of cards was completely destroyed. It was none of my business, but be damned if it didn’t hit me like a ton of bricks. I was helpless. I was uncomfortable. I was ashamed, and I had nothing to do with it. I realized this woman had probably never had leverage in a situation in her entire life. I should have picked up her check, but it was none of my business, after all. I paid my check and left. I felt like an asshole.

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