Patty Melt

By | 3 February 2024
When my grandmother died, my mother called me because there was no one else to call. I know we’re not talking but I need you to keep me from dancing on her grave. I met her at Marie Callender’s. A waitress with an engraved name tag brought me a patty melt and a glass of milk. It calms my mother when I drink milk. She had a chicken salad. I watched some cars pull into the parking lot, watched other cars pull out. The drivers seemed reasonable as they navigated between the lines. Some people think that parking lots are like the open sea but really, there are rules. At the funeral, my mother didn’t try anything at all, which was disappointing. A machine lowered the casket into the ground and we took our turns throwing dirt on it. I don’t think she had thought the whole thing through. There was nothing to celebrate or protest, just a hole in the ground with a box in it and no real way to prove a point or turn the afternoon into spectacle. On the drive back to my car in the Marie Callender’s parking lot my mother explained why we should return to not-talking, which we did. Marie Callender’s says they’re famous for their pies but really, who doesn’t say that? I was still in a wheelchair when my mother died. I had her cremated. There was nowhere to put the box.

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