Friday, October 15, 2010

The Soup

The old man ate his soup slowly
All his concentration was devoted to the task
The pretty young waitress sashayed over to his table to deliver crackers
After her shift at the cafe she would audition for a part in a musical
Francesca, her name tag announced
She smiled at the old man
“Everything okay?” she asked perkily
The old man looked up, at first annoyed that his eating was interrupted, but them glad to see such a pretty face
He hadn’t really noticed her before
“Fine, thanks” and he returned her smile
Another customer came in and sat down heavily
He was a large bulky middle aged man in a suit
He opened a menu as if annoyed with it and stared at the offerings
The waitress cheerily greeted him, although in this case her heart wasn’t in it
The large man barked his order and slammed the menu shut
The old man frowned as he looked at the businessman, trying to project his disapproval
To the old man, the businessman had broken the spell of the soup and the cute waitress
At last he finished the soup and pushed the empty bowl forward
“Anything else? Francesca asked
“Just more water, please”
The old man and the waitress liked each other
They were complimentary
One was full of hopes and dreams the other was full of memories...and dreams
Each appreciated the other as a fellow traveler in different phrases of a long journey
The businessman snapped open a newspaper, disgusted with most everything he read
The world was full of mistakes, people doing stupid things that offended his sensibilities or made his life harder
He dismissed his memories a sentiment only to be trotted out to fill in certain conversations
His hopes and dreams were distilled into goals and bottom lines to be ticked off if and when met
The old man got up to leave, unable as he rose, to suppress a burp
He looked around embarrassed
However, no one had minded or noticed
The waitress saw him leave and forgot for a moment about the audition that was making her nervous and excited
The waitress said to him, “bye, have a nice day sir”
“Thank you, you too” he smiled at her, then looked at the businessman and frowned again
He stepped outside and zipped his windbreaker closed against a sudden chill
The waitress brought the businessman his food, eschewing the pleasantries that would have been ignored anyway
She had 25 minutes left in her shift

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