Coney Island hotdogs are my diet of choice. On a long overdue visit back home I was delighted to find my downtown eatery still intact. It was like walking back into a movie set of my childhood. Same stools. Same booths with Formica tops. I patiently stood in line behind a hippytype. He smiled through a missing tooth and tossed his long gray pony tail around proudly.
Customers at the bar stools observed up close all the smells and creations being mass produced. Extra onions. Ketchup only. A dozen to go. The pungent greasy odor from the deep fryer combined with the sauce and onions. People from all walks of life were equal here.
A man in a fancy suit left his booth and I grabbed it quickly. It was like finding an opening at a four star restaurant. Pulling napkins out of the holders I wiped the table clean and stacked the dishes. I smiled at the table like an old friend. Memories were flying. Most Saturdays my sister and I rode the trolley downtown to see a movie and eat Coneys and fries. If we had gum in our mouths it usually ended up stuck under the table.
Instinctively I put my hand under the table and immediately pulled it back. Mine might still be there. I took a hand wipe from my purse and reminded myself I was eating on the top not the bottom of the table
Lost in my childhood visions I ordered a Coney, fries and a coke in a bottle. When the young waitress dropped my food in front of me and scurried away I was jolted out of my fun thoughts and into the now. What was this? What had they done to my perfect reenactment of my past? I had been betrayed.