Weeping Robbins at the Rocky Cola

The man in the booth across from me let his son order a vanilla sundae for lunch. Wow. My guess is the kid’s taking the afternoon off from school to make a doctor’s appointment. A special get-away day with Dad. It’s one of those days he’ll remember as “neat” for the next few months, then it’ll slip back into the anonymous white spaces of his memory until he recalls it suddenly during a quiet moment with his first serious girlfriend in college, not the one he meets in the dorms. She’s the only one in his life who will ever know how special this day is to him.

The couple behind me was fighting a minute ago. I couldn’t hear about what because their tones were private. They’re silent now, though, but only because their food came. Maybe they were grouchy from hunger. Either way, I don’t like the tone she was taking with him. Like a mother scolding the dog when her son’s not around.

TVs hang from the ceiling all over the place, as if anticipating whatever food we order or company we keep won’t be nearly entertainment enough. One blares Oprah masturbating over some actor whose name I can’t remember at the moment. Another is a finance show that preaches the incredible benefits of investing in the food industry. Considering there are only six patrons currently sitting in here, I fear the program will never be aware of its own irony.

There’s an old woman on the other side of the restaurant by the window. She’s alone, eating something on rye. Her jewelry dangles from her ears and her wrist as if to distract from her nearly translucent skin. She reminds me of my grandmother, except it was my grandfather who ate alone toward the end of their lives. I remember during one Christmas dinner we all wore paper crowns, and he leaned over and kissed her on the lips, almost missing because they were both old and shaky. It continues to be the single most romantic thing I’ve ever seen. She got Alzheimer’s shortly afterwards and disappeared. They ended up having to move her away to an assisted living home specifically for Alzheimer’s patients. He missed her after that. He died of his own will under hospice care, essentially assisted suicide. And although she was losing her mind, on that day my grandfather died she swore she got “the strongest feeling of Daddy.” Of course, she didn’t know that he died. Even after my mother told her.

The couple behind me is fighting again. I guess they’re done eating.

The waitress is pretty. I’ve checked her out more than once. I’d love to ascribe all these qualities to her that would match mine or, better yet, benefit from mine. But I don’t know her, nor will I ever. She flirted with me a little. But she’s wearing an engagement ring. Flirting comes with the job description. I’m not special.

Published on March 13, 2008 at 9:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

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