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Where She Wants

"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 while she processed what he had said.

“So vague. Have you always been this way?”

She put a fork full of food in her mouth and began to chew.

 

"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’t make long term commitments... does that make sense?"

She looked into his eyes, and tried to remember how the conversation had began.

"Have I ever asked you for a long term commitment? Ever?

She reached for her water and took a sip.

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 sort of suggest it... it's getting frustrating for me."

 

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 a little while thinking about this.

 

Her eyes moved from where he had disappeared, to a table nearby. A woman was sitting by herself, turning the pages of a magazine, in betewen bites of food from her plate. 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."

She looked at him for a moment while he looked down at his coffee.

"And that woman over there..."

He turned and looked.

"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 everything that was on the table. 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 forced a smile and picked up the check and bills.

 

The man looked through the window into the restaurant while the woman was talking to the waiter. He shook his head and sighed before getting into a taxi .

 

The woman had coffee, and continued to glance at the woman who was sitting alone. When she had finished the coffee, she got up and walked out to the street. She looked back at the restaurant once more, through the window. The waiter was gathering what was left.

 

The woman she had been watching, 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 leaned across the table and kissed her on the mouth. The woman smiled at him when they leaned back in their chairs. She put the magazine she had been looking at in her purse.

 

A taxi stopped. The woman looked away from the restaurant window and got in the car. She closed the door. The man driving looked at her in the rear view mirror. She smiled and told him where she wanted to go.

 

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Taken on August 30, 2008