Every Friday night, I see a couple come into the local restaurant. By the hairs growing on their moles and their wrinkles, I’d say they’re in their early sixties. The man always wears a grey suit with a coffee stain on the left side and the woman wears the same dress that she has worn every Friday night for the last month. He has a grey, wiry beard and she has glasses on a chain, resting on the very tip of her nose. The man pulls the chair away from the table for his wife to sit down. Then he sits down and, when they are both sat down, they sit in silence.
The man drums his fingers on the table to a basic rhythm. I always think about how I’d hate to tap my fingers on a table for as long as he does; they would begin to ache. He continues because he does not mind his fingers aching or becoming numb. It is much preferred to the numbing silence he is terrified of hearing. He continues drumming until his wife glares at him and then he stops immediately. A few minutes later, he opens his mouth but no words make their way past his crooked teeth. He closes his mouth again and runs a hand through his dyed, black hair.
Seeing her take off her wedding ring and aimlessly roll it between her hands, the man begins to play with the candle holstered in the table, hovering his hand above it. Lowering his palm just enough to feel the heat, he asks whether he has told he how pretty she looks in that dress. A few minutes later, she sighs and nods her head and her jowls flap. Nervously, he asks if it is new. A few minutes later, she shakes her head and her jowls wobble.
He sees that she is bored, as she traces her finger around the lipstick stain left on her wine glass. She is bored and this makes him nervous. A few minutes later, he asks what she thinks she’ll order.
“Everything here tastes bitter,” she sighs.
The only sounds now are the reluctant clang of knives and forks on plates and his loud chewing. Without another word uttered, they finish their meal, pay and leave. I’ll see them again next Friday.