When he finally stops moving, he's in a McDonalds.

It's unusual for Waldo to be in such a simple place; normally he finds himself in huge, crowded places like the circus or the end of a marathon just as the main body of runners turns the corner. To be fair, the McDonalds is in a large mall, but it's not particularly crowded. There's an empty table by the glass walls that look out over the mall and so he sits there, takes off his glasses and rubs the bridge of his nose.

Waldo looks through the glass into the hustling crowd. There's a mother trying to drag three unruly children into a clothing store, a man about to slip on a patch of wet floor, someone in a costume made out of brightly colored feathers running in a frenzy through the wide hall. Waldo frowns in confusion, but he's seen much stranger things than that in his travels.

Everyone just walks on by. No one looks into the McDonalds at Waldo, no one smiles at him or calls his name. The echoing din of footsteps and strange voices- he doesn't know the language, doesn't know what country he's in- seems far away, muffled, and the hard-backed chair on which he sits is cold through his red-and-white-striped sweater. Suddenly it's all too close and too far at the same time, and Waldo joins the line in front of the counter just to be surrounded by people, to let that hurried young woman bump into him, to step aside for that child running around the restaurant. He smiles at the youngster's enthusiasm: it's been a while since his wide smile has been anything but a mask.

He gets to the counter at last and realizes that he can't read the menu. The worker at the register makes a face at his awkward attempt at charades and calls for a colleague, who asks Waldo, in English, what he would like to order. Feeling sheepish and no longer hungry, he asks for fries and accepts the package, shoved into his hands, as the next customer steps forward.

Waldo heads back to his table, but stops when he sees it's been taken. A couple sits there now, his age or a bit older, and the wrinkles beginning to make themselves known around the pair's eyes and mouths are all from smiles. They're discussing something that makes them happy: they're laughing, and one of them lets a drop of ketchup slip and hit the table. The other wipes it away easily, scolding the mistake with a gently teasing expression.

Waldo swallows the fry he'd eaten, but he can no longer taste it. He walks out the door of the McDonalds, dropping the fries into a trashcan as he walks by it. Within moments he is swamped in the crowds, at the center of the mess of humanity like always, surrounded but alone, conspicuous but unseen, unnoticed, unloved.

Waldo knows where he is. He's in purgatory.