• Aperture: f/4
  • Focal Length: 50mm
  • ISO: 400
  • Shutter: 1/80 sec
  • Camera: NIKON D80

Columbus, Mississippi

The cheeseburger was perfection, served up with typical low-key fanfare at The Little Dooey in Columbus, Miss. So big I could hardly wrap my hands around it, charbroiled to a crisp, greasy shell on the outside, onions thinly sliced, swiming in mustard and mayonnaise, leaving a taste reminiscent of a really, really, REALLY good burger from Krystal’s.

It was exactly what I wanted. And yet it wasn’t.

I wanted to compare notes. I wanted to see the baffled surprise on his face — Fried. Macaroni. And cheese. In nugget-form. Dipped in ranch dressing. Half-heartedly, I smeared my mac bites in the creamy concoction and tried not to hear him say, “OMFG, C. You’ve GOT to be kidding me. Heart attack on a plate. This is the BEST.”

Because he would. He’d love it like I loved it. He’d love the goofy drawings plastered everywhere, crayon masterpieces on paper towels depicting beatific pigs flying amid rainbows. The surly waitress, the ice cold root beer, the chalkboard menu, the hardwood floors.

Yes, he’d love it all. Just as I did. But though the burger had been wonderfully decadent, completely satisfying, I felt a gnawing emptiness. It wasn’t the same. It wasn’t the same at all.

Music: One Sweet Love by Sara Bareilles (lyrics)

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