Saturday, December 09, 2006

alone at the table

You and I are at the table at the restaurant when the new girl calls you.

"I'm sorry. I've got to take this - you know, to make plans."

I listen to you ask polite questions about her week. I push my food around my plate. Take another bite.

"Sounds like you had a pretty good time. What time did you get home?"

He pauses, smiling, looking at me absently.

"Oh", he laughs. "So your cats were getting you back?"

'Cats', I mouthed at him, eyebrows raised. I couldn't help myself.

'Stop', he mouthed back in mock anger, shoving me lightly at the shoulder.

I smiled at our private joke but then realized he'd moved on with the conversation and I was alone at the table again.

I looked out the window at the families and their dogs and the Saturday afternoon traffic.

4 comments:

Tired Dad said...

Right. You. At the risk of starting some sort of dreadful Mutual Appreciation Society, I really must insist that you stop being quite so superb.

Some of us have to try quite hard at this writing stuff.

I know I've mentioned Carver before, but this sort of 'less-is-more' approach to language is terribly effective.

And we've all been in that restaurant, in one way or another. But I suspect few of us have been able to articulate the bitter-sweetness of the situation as well as you.

Stop it.

Rachel said...

Hey TD - thanks so much.

Carver really was a genius. Trying to keep it simple is the hardest thing for me and most of the time I miss the mark, but it sure feels good when I boil it down and it works. I wasn't sure about this one but I thank you for telling me you thought it did.

Lx said...

carver was indeed good.
genius?
hmmm.
but definitely solid-good.

Rachel said...

Whatever you want to call it. Anyone would be lucky to have some of 'it'.