Once, at a café

[Photo by Lily Banse on Unsplash]

A middle-aged man with short, mostly gray hair, pulled up to the curb, got out of his car quickly, saying, “I’m so sorry” before his door had even shut. He passed me, looked directly at the young man sitting alone at the patio table next to mine, and said something about being late.

Still looking at the man, he pointed inside, as if to indicate he was going to go order. The young man said nothing. Immediately after the older man went inside, the young man at the table got up and walked away down the sidewalk.

The older man came back outside minutes later, empty coffee cup dangling from his hand (it’s a place where you fill your own), looked at me curiously as he walked to his car for a moment, seemingly for no reason, then went back inside. 

I thought, perhaps, he was looking for a blind date and wasn’t sure who it was. I expected he would eventually find whoever he was looking for inside, and I forgot about him as I resumed writing. 

(Looking back at this now, I wonder if the young man who left was his blind date, and didn’t like what he saw, so ditched him. But I didn’t get that feeling at the time. It felt like the young man was confused as to why this guy was talking to him at all.) 

Much later, the older man came out and said something I couldn’t catch to a young woman who had just pulled up on a bicycle. She looked at him with an uncomfortable smile and didn’t say anything in response. The man walked off awkwardly to his car and drove away. 

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