Main | Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Last Word

Cafe Luka, Upper East Side, Sunday 10AM

I'm eating alone, trying to balance the massive Sunday Times on my little two-top . My table abuts the rear of the last booth where an elderly man and woman have just been seated.

Old Lady: Are you getting the corned beef hash again? I don't know why you won't try new things. You are such a stick in the mud.

Old Man: .....

Old Lady: Just don't put so much salt on it this time. You know how your blood pressure is. You never listen to the doctor. You're gonna drop dead from the salt. Then you'll be sorry.

Old Man: .....

Old Lady: There goes Doris and her Jacob. Such a nice young man. You know, it wouldn't kill you to call your son, should you forgot you had one.

Old Man: ......

Old Lady: Oh, don't forget we have that thing tonight. At Mona's. I'll pick out something for you to wear. Don't worry you won't have to lift a finger, not that I expect you to.

(waiter arrives)

Old Lady: He'll have the corned beef hash. And dry toast. He can't have dairy. I'll have the blintz. Two coffees. Make sure it's decaf and make sure it's fresh this time. Would it kill you to brew a new pot?

(waiter departs)

Old Lady: I wanna make sure that we get there early tonight so don't be going anywhere. I don't wanna sit around all dressed up and waiting for you.

Old Man: .....

(food arrives, they eat in silence)

Old Lady: I'm going to the ladies room. I hope it's clean in there this time. Don't leave until I get back, I'm leaving my purse. Remember when you left my purse sitting on the table that time? Pay attention to me, are you paying attention? OK, I'll be right back. Don't leave.

(Old Lady goes into the restroom)

Old Man: (shouting) I'M GONNA GIVE YOU SUCH A SMACK!

(Old Lady returns)

Old Lady: OK, I'm ready. Let's go get something to bring to Mona's. I'll pick it out, you never get the right thing.

Old Man: ......

(they leave)

From my table, I watch them toddle down the sidewalk.

They are holding hands.


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