wHere sHe WanTs To bE

"i'm sorry. that's the way i am, that's me... i'm a sceptical person." he said to the woman sitting across from him. she looked down at the food on her plate and pretended to be interested in it. he watched her, hoping that she would somehow process what he had said, and not press him for more details that he couldn't provide her with... that he never seemed to be able to provide her with.

she put a fork full of food in her mouth and began to chew on what he had said.

 

"i think you want more security," he said to her. "you want me to promise things i don't think i can right now... but that doesn't mean i don't want to be with you... it just means i can make long term commitments... does that make sense?"

she nodded her head and agreed with him, then spoke in an irritated tone.

"did i ask for one? have i ever asked you for a long term commitment of any sort? ever? can you think of a time, because if you have, it would be great for you to refresh my memory." she said to him, while reaching for her water.

he looked at her and thought about it.

"no... no, you haven't... but it just seems like we have this conversation all the time... you don't say the actual words but you make hints and suggestions towards it... subtle hints... and it's getting frustrating for me... i'm sorry to say that, but it is."

 

she looked around the restaurant, then out of the window that was to her right.

he got up and went to the bathroom while she continued to glance out of the window. her eyes pulled away from the window and followed his every step until he turned the corner and was no longer visible.

"i love the way he walks, even when he's mad." she mumbled to herself.

she smiled while thinking about this.

 

her eyes moved from where he had disappeared, to a table nearby. a woman was seated by herself, reading a magazine, picking at the food on her plate, while periodically turning the pages in the magazine.

she stared at the woman until the man came back from the bathroom and sat down across from her again.

 

"i remember before i met you," she said to him. "i remember before i met you, i used to come to restaurants alone... and i would see couples, at other tables, eating and talking, and it would make me wish that i had someone."

"and then you met me." he said to her.

"yeah... and then i met you."

they stared at each other. she smiled a little, while he remained stone faced.

"and that woman over there..."

he turned and looked, then turned back.

"that woman, she's sitting there all alone... and a part of me... a part of me wishes that was me again."

he looked down at all the contents on the table... as if the answer resided somewhere amongst the dishes and linen.

he reached for the napkin on his lap and dropped it on the plate in front of him. he pushed his chair back from the table, stood up, and looked at her while she looked up at him.

"i didn't mean it like that." she said to him.

he set a few bills down on top of his napkin and walked away.

the woman watched him the same way she had watched him when he had gone to the bathroom. she knew this time though, that he wouldn't be coming back.

 

the waiter came to the table. he had seen everything. the woman looked up at him.

"and now i'm supposed to get up and chase after him, right?"

the waiter took the check and gathered the bills. he said nothing, but smiled courteously.

 

the man was out on the street, facing oncoming traffic. he looked through the window while the woman was talking to the waiter. he shook his head, with a confused look on his face, and got into a taxi.

 

the woman had coffee, and continued to stare at the other woman who was seated alone. when she had finished the coffee, she got up and walked out to the street. she looked back at the restaurant once more. the waiter was gathering everything that was left.

 

the woman she had been watching, across the room, who had been sitting alone, was no longer by herself. a man was seated across from her now, they were smiling at one another. he was holding a menu. she was holding a closed magazine.

 

a taxi stopped in front of her. she got in, closed the door, and told the man where she wanted to go.

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Taken on August 30, 2008