Photo by Joze
Today, crisp cool air mingles with a blazing sun as I leave my minuscule apartment on Lexington Ave. The weather has been dreary. This morning is glorious.
I pull my long chestnut hair into a no-nonsense ponytail, walk and think about the other woman . Damn, I am better looking, appear tall for my height and young for my years.
Around noon, I stop for lunch at a typical outdoor New York café; the tables are round and small; the metal chairs look uncomfortable, but are not once I sit.
A waiter fills my water glass, and announces he is my server. The menu choices are unexpectedly appealing; fennel quiche, garlic soup, and more.
I take time ordering.
The man on my left, glances my way. His look lingers but reveals nothing, and leaves me questioning if I know him? The feeling we have met and cannot remember where, accompanies the exchange. His thick blond hair is sun streaked and he looks familiar, a little like a friend, Sam.
Groomed brows frame his eyes. Carefully pressed gray slacks, and a wrinkle-free dress shirt complete his polished look, but I do not know him.
I sit back to wait for my meal and people watch. New Yorker’s are something, a biker babe dressed in leather, pushes a doggie stroller. The dog wears goggles and rests his paws on the bar celebrity style. I laugh.
The street is increasingly active as people walk and talk loud.
The waiter brings my order and the man who looks like Sam stares in my direction again, his eyes search everywhere. As the tables fill up, the man gives a knowing nod my way, and almost smiles. Although he is facing me, it is hard to tell if he is looking at me, or not.
I refrain from turning my head to look behind hearing a couple seat themselves. They create quite a stir dragging empty chairs across the concrete and arranging shopping bags. I realize the man who looks like Sam is studying them.
“Mind your own business,” says a voice in my head.
When the waiter takes my empty plate, I order a Cappuccino and the ‘Chocolate – Chocolate’ cake, and listen to the newly seated couple’s angry banter.
The woman protests, “I didn’t make you come here, Victor, you agreed it was a favorite of ours.”
“Eve, you’re the one who loved the menu, thought the food so nouveau or something?”
Her voice rises. “You loved the zucchini mushroom quiche, and what about the gazpacho soup? You raved, said it was the best you’d ever had!”
His reply is slow and deliberate. “No, you weren’t listening; I said the quiche was good if you like quiche. And the soup ‘the best’ Gestapo! I was being sarcastic.”
He leaves the table saying, “I’ll be in the men’s room.”
I am stunned. His voice sounds like Victor’s? My Victor?
Look-A-Like Sam rushes to fill Victor’s empty seat, firing off questions that leave no room for a response. “What’s going on? You said you would be at here 12 o’clock, alone. Why did Victor come? Drama? Eve, you thrive on drama. I’ve had enough.”
Now, I turn my head to see and watch. Coyly, Eve removes her Hollywood style sunglasses, checks her diamond wristwatch, leans forward, and whispers, “Oh, my, it is past noon, isn’t it. Victor’s golf was cancelled.”
Playing with her blouse buttons she continues, “When he learned I was coming to the city, he said, he would come.”
Shaking her head, she continues, her eyes misty. “I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t persuade him otherwise. You know I’m married.”
Look-A- like Sam laughs, “Do you think I’m a fool, Eve? There are other restaurants in this town! Why bring him here? There won’t be a next time.”
He takes a twenty-dollar bill from his wallet, presses it in a nearby waiter’s hand, and leaves abruptly.
Eve shouts after him, “Next time answer your cell, damn it!” As she tosses her hair back and adjusts her sun glasses.
The husband returns. A tan complements his brown eyes, perfect Roman nose, and romantic lips. Approaching the table, his aloof expression becomes surprise, as our eyes meet.
Victor sits down across from his wife, tucks in a cloth napkin and questions, “Who was that? You seem upset. Is everything alright?”
Eve clears her throat, forces a smile, and explains, “Someone who goes to my gym. It’s nothing. I’m tired, and sorry. Sorry we had words.” She reaches across the table to take her husband’s hand, “Can we forget it?”
Eve appears confident and why not? She is not his other woman.
I linger to finish my ‘Chocolate-Chocolate’ cake, lick the remains of a raspberry garnish from the fork, and pay the bill.
Stopping at the couple’s table when leaving, I say, “Victor, What a surprise to see you here . . . with . . . your wife? And move into the passing crowd.
. . . . just saying