table for two
April 26, 2007
And lying like crazy about that to get and keep jobs I worked in this hotel restaurant. It was not upscale. It was not downscale. Kind of middle scale — not the breakfast place, not the tux place, just the in-between place. Which was good for me. People ask less questions in in-between places. But it had table cloths. And pretty china. And served wine. And every Thursday night this lady came in.
She was older. Much older. And delicate that way ladies who are very beautiful in their youth sometimes become when decades and decades pass. Like they are not aging exactly, just becoming more and more transparent.
She always wore a lovely dress, carried an elegant handbag, wore not too bright lipstick, and did her hair in perfect gray curls. She probably missed truly pretty shoes. She always asked for a table for two.
Nobody else liked to wait on her. She did not tip much. In her day, a dollar was probably big though. But also I think they thought she was a little creepy. Maybe because she was always alone. Maybe because she always asked for a table for two. Maybe because of the animated conversations she had every Thursday night with her dining companion across the table from her — the empty chair.
I did not mind that. I wondered about whether I was supposed to ask about that other person. I was not sure of the etiquette there. I never did. And she never minded. So we got along.
I think there are worse things in this world than having dinner once a week with someone no one else can see. Whoever it was made her smile. And sometimes laugh. I figure he turned a good compliment and told a good joke. I figure it was maybe better having dinner with him than it would have been having dinner without him.