Her eyes scanned the elegant display before her for only a moment or two. I could tell, she wasn’t reading, just looking. When she spoke she was sure. “I’ll have the filet mignon, please.”
“A fine choice for a fine lady” said the waiter as he took her menu and held it under his arm so he could continue to exaggerate every word with his hands. Only the best and pure of breed are employed at such a strictly Italian restaurant. “And for the young gentleman?” His hands lowered as he said young, they clasped as if in prayer as he said gentleman. I don’t like praying, I’m not that short, and I think I won’t come here anymore.
“Penne.” I said.
“We have an assortment of wonderful-” his hands flailed wildly on wonderful but it never seemed like he went too far, I wish I could look so sure all the time, “-sauces on the third page. There’s marinara, vodk-”
“Stop, stop, stop, I saw the sauces. I’m very proud of you for memorizing your menu, I want penne.”
“Surely you wan-”
“Put some butter on it.”
“Of course.” He bowed. Spirit fingers are for musicals and should stay there.
I looked to my left. There are a lot of rich people here, they like spirit fingers and praying. They don’t notice me. To my right, a window, the city. People. Lots of them.
“What are you doing? Sit down.” She said worried, looking around to the people indulged in their food literally oblivious to me.
“I prefer candle light.” I said as I finished closing the curtain. While I do prefer candle light, I have no vendetta against street lights either. It is the eyes of the people wandering I could do without.
“You’re so inappropriate. Why do you have to be so…so…whatever.”
“You can’t possibly have meant something by that.”
“Just forget about it.” She said exhaling and scanning the room for any eyes that might be following them.
I exhaled too. A long sigh. “Done.”
The rest of our dinner was silent. My penne was excellent, her prime cut was expensive. The tip was cut lower. She still gave me a kiss when I put the money on the table. I hate the way that relationships are set up in the female’s favor sometimes. I pay for everything but she makes close to as much I do. I don’t have extra money to buy nice things for myself let alone her. But she goes shopping regularly. If she doesn’t have enough money to shop, it’s my fault. I feel used, but then again that money seemed worth the kiss. She should have been an actor. It really seems like she enjoys every minute of this, but I’m pretty sure she has a conscience which would certainly take that spring out of her step. It’s harder to put one foot in front of the other if it matters who is under your $120 heels.
The ride home was a tightrope walk. We got in the car and the center console was a 20 foot gap. As we nimbly closed the gap, showing our agile prowess, any sudden movement by the other could throw their partner off to certain humiliation. As the tension lifted in the car the rope became more erratic. Just trying to speak is reckless as I fumble with my words. “I’m sorry.”
She acted like she deserved every syllable. “I know,” is all she says avoiding my eyes in a stunt that would have made me fall completely over the side if it wasn’t part of the routine. My multi faceted girl could have been an acrobat on the side. By the end of the ride, we’ve switched sides, but are just as far away as before, and complacent with the stability. Not wanting to stray too far from the routine we shimmy down from the platforms and go our separate ways.
She quickly opened her passenger side door and went full stride to couch. Kicking off her shoes she let out a sigh of relief. After a day like today their soles would need a break to withstand another long callous tomorrow. My driver’s side door creaked open so slow that it stopped at every conveniently engineered resistance originally set to keep the door from hitting other parked cars. Instead it was keeping me from getting out. Each time, a chance to change my mind. Continue, or not.
I was not surprised as I got out and walked to the front door to make my next decision. Not surprised when I got to the kitchen. Or by my snack, making it to the living room, sitting speechlessly across from her. “You know,” she said looking me straight in the eye, “I really appreciate you putting up with me today. I was distracted. I think I failed the term paper I was working on all week. Don’t be upset with a lousy dinner, I’ll make you your favorite tomorrow.”
“What’s my favorite?”
“Surprises.” She said with a smile. “One of these days I’ll make you as happy as you make me.”
She should have been a lawyer. I’m convinced.