Title: "All Things at the Last"
Author: monimala
Fandom: Dead Like Me
Rating/Classification: SAC, George, Mason, gen.
Disclaimer: Nothing belongs to me!
Summary: That's life. And death. Neither are perfect.

You know how, when you're a kid, you think you're never going to get over your big, life trauma? Like...Susie Bartow got a bra before you did and your life is over? Or you fell off the rope in gym class in front of the really cute boy you didn't have the guts to ask out and now he's *never* going to look at you without remembering the crunching sound you made as you hit the mat? Surprisingly enough, after you're dead...well, the Big Life Trauma kinda ends. Interstellar toilet seat marks the spot.

I'm over the toilet seat. I am.

Okay. So, I'm not completely over it and it's unfair and I really would like to still be living in my house and have my parents together and frostily polite and maybe, on top of that, I'd like to have one hot night with Brad Pitt...but that's life. And death. Neither are perfect.

Close to perfect...waffles. And juice. There are worse places to spend a quarter of your day than a waffle house with yellow lighting that makes it look like you've set foot into 1975. No. Seriously. There are.

"Are you going to eat that...?"

"No."

I slide the small plate of bacon three inches to my right without even looking up from the patterns in the faded Formica. One of these days, I'm going to see the Virgin Mary. I just know it.

Whenever I have the extra cash, I've been buying ala carte breakfast meats that I never eat.

Okay. He's not even the cute guy who watched me fall from a rope. It's just...you look at Mason and you want to feed him. Probably all the heroin. He wouldn't look out of place on a runway in Paris.

He's been drinking again. He thinks we haven't caught on. I *went* to high school. I know the old cologne-and-Binaca trick. It doesn't cover up the red eyes, the slept-in clothes...or the fact that he, usually, makes more sense when he's plastered. Well. As much sense as he's *capable* of making.

"I love you, Georgia," he sighs, blissfully, from around the third strip.

"Mmmhm. Sure. Love you, too." I pat his knee beneath the table, ignoring the rustle of Rube's newspaper and the "harrumph" noise.

Rube's just jealous. Last week, he let Mason eat his toast and Mason proposed. Not that there's anything to be jealous of. Our inebriated British pal loves anyone and everyone who repeatedly insults his intelligence and gives him food. He's pretty uncomplicated. All he wants is the basics. A roof over his head, something to eat, and high quality designer drugs.

I have to wonder if he's always been like this. If he ever wanted more. If anybody loved him when he was seven and told him to comb his hair and eat his kippers. Did he have Big Life Trauma? Does he ever wish he didn't die? That he had time to do one last line or ask out that mod chick with the flippy hair?

"Did anyone ever make you breakfast, Mason?" I ask, laying my cheek flat against the tabletop, soaking in the coolness of it even though I'm not really all that warm. "Do you miss it?"

"Um...my mum, I think. Maybe once." He glances over at me, squinting those big, green, bloodshot eyes. "And I don't really miss her. I don't think." The last piece of bacon kinda wavers in his fingers before he finishes it off in that gross way that guys have--where they snarf down massive quantities of food in one bite. "I have you, Geoooorge," he reminds, with a sunny smile. "You feed me!"

It's funny. Sometimes, all it takes is a smile to make your hands slip. Later, you tell the teacher you had rope burn and he doesn't believe you and gives you a zero for the day...but you don't care. Because you have that smile. Or somebody else's bacon.

And it fills you up.

Life isn't perfect. Neither is death.

But what's in between...? It's not so bad.

There are worse places to be.

We get them handed to us every morning on little yellow scraps of paper.

 

--end--

August 19, 2004.



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