Wag 16: True Love
I’m half way through my salad when an elderly man in a business suit pushes on the glass door of the restaurant. The reason I notice is because one of the waiters rushes over to hold open the door while the man turns and stretches out his arm. His wife comes into view. She’s leaning on a his arm and a cane and is still having a hard time. I can’t help wonder why she’s wearing 3 inch heels if she can hardly walk, but this is New York so maybe she’s feeling some pressure to keep up appearances. She almost falls trying to squeeze into the tight space between tables. Her husband clicks his tongue and makes a joke with the waiter but his wife apparently can’t hear and starts to scream at him to find out what he said. The waiter fusses over them both and leaves.
My salad plate is removed and the main course comes. It’s accompanied by a nonstop argument from the couple across the aisle. The woman is ranting on about some phone call her husband didn’t answer that morning and the husband is trying to explain that he picked up her call but she didn’t hear him when he spoke. He’s painfully aware that half the Bistro is tuned in to their conversation and again makes jokes in a futile attempt to defuse his wife’s temper.
I’m wondering if he’s going to slip poison into her soup, but then I’m a murder mystery writer. Perhaps this is an aberration. The waiter serves their lunch and ends up making several trips to rectify problems that the woman finds with the food. The smile on his face is becoming frayed and now I wonder if the poison will come from another source.
I finish my lunch and head over to a nearby drug store to pick up a few things before heading back uptown. When I hit the street again I see the couple; they’ve left the restaurant and they’re across the street. Except now the man isn’t holding his wife’s arm. I see her wobbling toward some uneven pavement. The man strolls half a step ahead, seemingly unaware of the obstacle. She’s not asking for help and the expression on her face is so angry, no one nearby is going to offer it.
I’m thinking the man’s almost hoping she hits a crack and careens into the path of a bus. Whether this is a one time thing or not, who can say?