I tell him during lunch how if he hates going to that restaurant downtown, we should just skip it. Tonight, he says, isn’t about what he likes but about what his boss likes. There’s that very modern point of view, I guess, and tell him I’d probably say the same thing to him if our roles were reversed. He says how much he’d rather just go home and read the rest of his book. I don’t mention anything about what happened this morning and neither does he. He stops a waitress walking by and asks for three more wedges of lemon for his lemonade.
The morning after we first slept together, once we were showered and dressed in the clothes from the day before (he offers me a tee-shirt but it has an iridescent dragon on it and say, “No, thanks.”), we walk from his apartment to a diner just off Vernon Street. It’s Sunday morning and he holds my hand on the blocks-long walk and he talks to me about something he’s doing at work. His job has something to do with magazine production, and then, years ago, I’m not interested in anything he has to say about it but feign my way through it, nodding along. In the diner, the food comes and he doesn’t wait for me to offer and takes a sip from my strawberry-lemonade.
A bit ago, at lunch, he’s telling me how his department’s about to absorbed by another. He’ll still have a job but five of his team won’t. He says he’s the one who’ll have to have those conversations. I ask him how he feels about that and he shrugs his shoulders in response, calls the waiter over with a snap of his fingers and asks for more lettuce for his veggie sandwich.
In the diner, it’s lunch hour on a weekend and suddenly there isn’t an empty spot in the place. The waitstaff are the epitome of efficiency if not courtesy. our waitress - early twenties - our age - and Hispanic - she comes over repeatedly to ask if everything’s okay, do we need anything else, what else are we going to have, can she get us more coffee, how about more lemonade. And she smiles at us. She knows we have the we just fucked for the first time look about us.
When the bill comes, the waiter sets it in front of him. He sips his coffee and slides the little black tray over to me as I’m taking my wallet out. I slip a few bills on it without looking at the total: we’re so boring, I know how much lunch during a workday is for us. He stops the waiter again and asks for a to-go cup for his half-full cup of coffee. I sigh. The waiter looks at me and I know he’s thinking, “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me.”
At the diner, he pays. The din of the full restaurant is terribly comforting, as if everyone here is contributing to an incredibly wonderful morning-after atmosphere I didn’t know existed before. He pays with a credit card and I notice he leaves no tip. He puts away his card and doesn’t reach for the bills in his wallet and I ask him if he’s not going to tip this girl. He makes a face, looks around to make sure our waitress isn’t nearby and leans close to me and says she was terrible: she didn’t get me more lemonade. He says, “She *asked* you if you wanted more.” I say, sure. He looks at me as if I should know what he means. Instead I pull out my wallet and set a ten-dollar bill above the signed receipt. He asks if I’m sure and I say I am.
I walk him to his car he says I need to be ready to leave the house at six. I say I will. He says we can’t be late. I say we won’t. He means it, he says. I say I know. He kisses me on the cheek and gets in his car and drives off. I walk a block over to my office. The hot city breeze blows my tie in my face.
We walk back from the diner to his apartment and he’s convinced I’m ridiculous for having left money on the table for the waitress. He goes on and on as to why she didn’t deserve a cent. Remember Reservoir Dogs? Yes, he’s Mr. Pink. He invites me back inside when we reach his front door and says if I’m not doing anything today, we should watch a movie. I say I should get back and he hugs me and kisses me and says he had an amazing time. I say the same. He says, “Even if you gave that girl more money than she deserved.”
Back in the office I have an email from him telling me not to be late and be ready by six.
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