good meal at mitchell’s.

I kept wanting to, after we’d switched sides of the booth for a change of scenery, cut the soft part out of your “special” cinnamon raisin French toast and dance the crust around in syrup. I kept wanting our waitress, or the busboy I scared away with my explosive laugh, to come back for coffee and hot water and ice water refills without us having to ask. I went to the bathroom and had a moment at the sinks with a young boy. He was at the right sink and I at the left. His mother with a child in a stroller were in a stall. I couldn’t tell if they were a homeless family or not. The boy had a winter knit cap on, the type one would buy at Walgreens. He was messing with the water faucet’s handle like he was a gunner or a race car driver. I said something silly to him. Our eyes met in the mirror, both of us grinning as I dried my hands and he waited for his mother. 

You surprise-paid the bill while I was in the bathroom and the Greek man behind the cash register gave you 2 Hershey’s Kisses to give to me. You said he liked me, and he’d said something to you about me being happy. I ate the Kiss that was almond in gold foil. I gave you the silver Kiss. You were quick to point out that I didn’t give you a real kiss, so I kissed you across the booth but that pucker of yours was rather weak so I made you kiss me again. We sashayed out the door, leaving our tip money and crumpled napkins behind. 

As we were walking out of the movie, you realized you didn’t have your gloves and were in a panic because they’re your favorite ones. “Let’s go back to the restaurant,” I proposed, always quick with a suggestion. The Greek man, still behind the register, recognized us and waved his hand for us to sit down again. You asked about the gloves and he said, “Oh, I gave them to somebody else.” Just as you were lamenting, “I shook hands with John Malkovich in those gloves!”, he reached into a small cardboard box on the shelf behind him and pulled the gloves out. 

That Greek man knows people well. He observes and doesn’t even have to do it closely. He does it without most people in that restaurant being aware of it. There have to be people who mock him as an old man in a greasy spoon restaurant with a wall of glossy black & white autographed celebrity photos behind him, but he’s an expert in getting glimpses of our private occasions in this public place.

(2000)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s