Steak, Charm, Shelf

by Marcus Jonathan Chapman

He touched the fleshy part of his palm, just below his thumb.

“Well done, okay, and for you ma’am?” The waiter wasn’t faced by the man’s silence or his stare.

“I’ll have a chicken salad, please, with dressing on the side.”

“We’ll have that right out for you. More wine?”

He put his hand over his glass. No.

The waiter left and the two at the table stared at each other. Their eyes looked all over each other’s faces for understanding.

The woman’s charm was in her eyes. She would narrow them at him and smile. Words were unnecessary at this point in their relationship. After 60 years, words mostly got in the way.

They looked around the room, and look back at each other. Remembering and knowing what the other would say. An ongoing conversation, never placed on the top shelf, always going back to where they were.

They communicated like this for 20 minutes before the waiter returned with their food. The steak let off wavy streams of heat. The salad nearly spilled out of it’s bowl. They looked at the salad and both began to laugh.

The man pushed the tines of his fork into the base of the T in his steak. The woman scooped out a piece of chicken with her hands, dipping it into her dressing before taking the whole bit in her mouth.

They ate, paid the check, left a 20% tip and left. All without a word. The waiter came and cleared the table. A younger man and woman took their place. Laughing and jawing at all the things they wanted to share but barely looking each other in the eyes.

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