Local Paragons IX: Fourth Street Filling Station

Fourth Street Filling Station is quintessential Winston Salem. Whenever someone comes to visit me from out of town. This is the first place I want to take them to eat. It captures the essence of Old Winston and the beauty of modern Winston. The food is just, well, wonderful. If you have a chance to eat on the patio, take it—it’s the way to experience Winston on a deeper and authentic level to which few places can stake a claim. Most recently I had a wrap which I couldn’t eat enough of (rarely do I eat every last bite of something—not even a church mouse would get a morsel off this plate!). But I have never eaten a single dish I didn’t love.

Food: <3 <3 <3 <3 <3                                                      Local Color: <3 <3 <3 <3 <3


Lucy settled in at the table across from Saul. They hadn’t been out in over a week, and when he had suggested meeting at Fourth Street Filling Station, she’d hesitated. Not because of the food—she loved the food, but because of what happened. She hadn’t been back since that night, and as she sat across from Saul watching  stray blossom fall from the tree overhead and land on the table between them, she wondered if it was a good idea.

A smile settled on her tight lips for the first time; she tried to relax though she could still feel her pulse coursing through her bottom lip as she chewed on the inside of it.

“Are you sure you’re okay, Luce?” Saul asked for the second time now.

Lucy was not okay. Her mouth was dry. Her eye had started to twitch.

“I’m fine,” she pulled the water across the table; the scraping sound sounded loud. She took a sip, and looked around the patio. Nothing had changed. The same bricks, unevenly lay across the ground. The koi pond was still stocked with fish fattened by ill-disciplined younger patrons constantly throwing bits of bread into the water in between courses. The trees forming a canopy over the wrought iron trellis deadened the noise from the street so Lucy could vaguely hear the fish splashing. Still, the street noise duly loomed in the back of her skull—beating a rhythm of underlying assault.

“Something is on your mind,” Saul stated. He buttered a piece of bread and handed it to her. She took it, staring at, but not really seeing it. Picking up another piece, Saul buttered another piece for himself, and chewed as he silently studied her from across the table.

“I haven’t been here since it happened.” Lucy’s voice sounded far off. She didn’t even feel like it belonged to her as she spoke.

The screeching on the pavement—tires, rubber burning—it all sounded so loud in her head. Lucy was holding on to his waist—then she wasn’t. Above her was the night sky, blinking back at her. Something wet, sticky and thick rolled down her face. Blood.

People shouted.

Lucy sat up. Her head protested. So did her arm, twisted unnaturally beneath her, but she ignored it as she saw him. Crushed. Bent beneath the twisted metal of the bike. He was motionless. So much blood.

And then the screaming started. It hurt her ears. Who was screaming?

“Lucy!” Saul was trying to get her attention, but Lucy was still screaming—the restaurant was now all staring, silent.

In the next moment, Luzy’s eyes rolled to the top of her head and she would have fallen out of her seat if Saul hadn’t acted quickly. His own chair hit the pavement behind him as he lunged for Lucy, catching and easing her to the ground as she began.

“She’s seizing,” he said, medical training overriding emotions. “Call 9-1-1.” He turned her slightly to the side, and supported her head. There was nothing else he could do.

“Should we do something to keep her from choking?” A waiter asked, squatting next to him, phone in hand.

“She’ll be fine. Just get her to Baptist,” Saul’s authoritative tone was all the man needed. He nodded, and dialed.

Saul looked down at Lucy, wondering what she’d seen in the moments before she’d had her seizure. Hallucinating? Maybe. Definitely not cognizant of her surroundings for three, maybe five minutes. He swallowed hard, looking down at his watch nervously, trying not to worry about the woman he was afraid he may be falling in love with.

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