I sit at the table. He across from me smiles shyly and sips from his drink. The sound of an empty glass is a trumpet of despair in my ears. The dishes cluttering the table are all empty, each one scraped clean. Yet still we sit, staring.
It’s obvious. There was no longer any pretense. No rolls to coat with butter. No last noodle to chase with a fork. No last drop of chocolate to wipe from a plate. Nothing remains but the melting ice in the last of our drinks, and that for only so much longer. And yet we sit, staring.
“I don’t want to go.” I say. Pathetic. You can’t just say that.
“We could go somewhere else.” He now appears just as disappointed.
“I don’t think I could eat any more anyway.” An awkward chuckle. I shouldn’t have said that… “Uh… I think there’s a park nearby.” I have no idea really but how far could one be?
“Yes!” A smile. “I mean…” A shy glance to the side “Sure.” Looking again at my eyes. No, into my eyes, into my soul. Another smile.
The flutters in my chest lift me to my feet. Do I help him from her chair? What do I do? I stand, arms by my side as he grabs his cellphone and joins me. The flutters which had not ever actually paused the entire dinner, redouble their intensity. The bill had long since been paid. And paid again upon ordering a second desert.
Willing my hand not to sweat, I place a palm on his shoulder as I walk with him out of the restaurant. We wander aimlessly on the streets for only a few minutes before stopping to simply stare into each other’s eyes. We never found a park.