A Table for Two

It was decided that Sarah’s penance for setting Julie up on the blind date from hell was lunch at Demetri’s. For Julie, nothing could clear away the blues quite like a big, heaping plateful of spaghetti and, of course, the best cannoli this side of the Atlantic. Demetri’s was a small, family owned Italian Bistro and Julie’s favorite place to eat. The thing she loved most about going there, besides the authentic Italian cuisine, was that everyone who walked through the doors was made to feel like family. If you were looking for comfort, Demetri’s definitely was the place to be.

The hostess sat them at a table for two in the back of the restaurant where they had the perfect view of everyone coming and going. Nick, the owners’ grandson brought them over two menus and a basket of fresh bread.  “Ciao bello,” he said to Julie, “how’s my favorite customer today?”

“I’m good, Nick. This is my friend Sarah.”

“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” he said as he kissed the back of her hand. “Julie, can I bring you your usual today?”

“Thanks, but I think I’m going to take a look at the menu.”

“Feeling adventurous today, are we?” he laughed.

“Something like that.”

He shook his head in approval and then left them to look over the menu. Julie was as predictable as they come. Since too many things in life were unpredictable, she liked to keep the things she could control in a nice little box. She liked control and order, and she very rarely strayed from her comfort zone. So, she usually always ordered the spaghetti and meatballs. She knew what she liked and always stuck with it. Why risk ordering something new and then not enjoy your meal? Wes used to always tease her about her predictability and her response would always be, “If I want to try something new I can always try a bite of yours.” A tiny smile lifted the corners of her mouth at the memory. After perusing the menu for about five minutes, she narrowed her choice down to either the Chicken Parmigiana or the Penne Alla Vodka.

Before she could make her final decision, Sarah gasped, “Oh my God! You are not going to believe who just walked in.”  Julie was just about to turn her head so she could see what Sarah was freaking out about, but Sarah grabbed her hand and whispered, “No, don’t turn around!” But it was too late. She turned her head slightly and saw Wes and a beautiful, young blonde being seated at a table near the front of the restaurant. She couldn’t help but notice that he was wearing one of his best suits and he looked like he’d lost the “beer weight,” as she often called it. He looked fantastic. He looked like the Wes she hadn’t seen a glimpse of in the last three years. She also couldn’t help but notice that the beautiful, young blonde seemed to be hanging on his every word. She thought that signing the divorce papers was painful, but this, this was so much worse. She had waited and waited for him to wake up and put himself back together for her, but he never did. So to sit here and watch him being the Wes she had been waiting for with another woman, well it filled her with so much pain and rage that she thought she might explode. Her hands began to shake as tears rolled down her face.

“Sarah, I can’t sit here and watch this. I need to get out of here, now.”

“They’re sitting right by the front door, if we leave now he’s going to see you. Besides, where they are sitting, I doubt they can see us. I promised you comfort food and I’m delivering on my promise.”

“Honestly, I think I just lost my appetite. You can stay if you want, but I’m leaving.”

She waved down Nick and motioned for him to lean in close. She whispered something in his ear and then the next thing Sarah knew he was leading Julie off to the kitchen. A few minutes later she got a text.

I’m so sorry to ditch you, but I just couldn’t watch that. Stay and enjoy your lunch, I’m going to take a cab home. See you later.

Thirty minutes later Sarah walked into the house to find Julie, and a heaping pile of tissues, on the couch. Sarah placed two bags of food from Demetri’s on the coffee table and sat down next to her weeping friend. “You really didn’t think I was going to sit and eat lunch by myself, did you?” she said as she pulled out a container of food and handed it to Julie.

“Thanks, Sarah. You really didn’t have to do this. I’m fine.”

“Clearly,” she said, gesturing to all the wadded up tissues.

“Ok, well, maybe I’m not, but I will be. Eventually. I just don’t understand. Why wasn’t I enough? Why couldn’t he make all those changes for me? I know I’m the one who filed for divorce and I don’t have any right to be upset, but I just didn’t think it would hurt this much to see him with someone else. He didn’t see you leave, did he? Did you talk to him?”

“No, Nick took me out the back just like he did you, but not before insisting I take this food home for you, which he didn’t charge me for either. I think the next time we’re in there we owe him a huge tip. No more talk about Wes, we have a date.”

“A date? You’ve got to be kidding me.”

She reaches into one of the bags and pulls out two DVD’s, “Kevin Hart or Will Farrell?”

“Kevin Hart.”

Apparently there wasn’t enough carbs or comedy in the world to break Julie out of her misery. They were about half way through the movie and their food and she had yet to laugh once. Her friend knew she had it bad, because who doesn’t laugh at Kevin Hart? The man is seriously hilarious. Sarah was just about to comment when Julie’s phone made the telltale sound of an incoming text. She watched her as she pulled out her phone and she couldn’t help but wonder who it was that put the smile back on her friend’s face.

 Did the blind date from hell get any better?

Who is this?

The founding member of the Unlucky in Love Club. I’m actually hurt you don’t remember.

Oh, yes. Of course I remember, your text saved me from that date from hell.

Happy to be of service.

 I don’t want to come off rude, but why are you texting me?

I guess it does seem a little creepy…sorry for that. I promise you I’m not some weirdo. You were just so sweet in an awkward situation, you could’ve made fun of me, but you didn’t and I just needed to know you were ok.

I would never make fun of someone else’s misfortune. I’m doing ok, how about you? Have you heard from Lisa?

No, but even if I did, I’m no longer interested.  I mean, who does that? If you’re not into me, just tell me. I really wish I knew what I did wrong. I guess women these days don’t appreciate a gentlemen.

I can’t speak for other women, but this one absolutely appreciates a gentleman. Maybe if you tell me a little bit about what happened I can shed some female perspective for you.

You’d be willing to do that?

Sure. I mean, you did give me a great excuse to get out of my date without having to hurt his feelings.

So what exactly did you say to get out of it?

I just told him that my daughter was having an emergency and I needed to leave.

So you have a kid?

Two actually, but we’re supposed to be talking about your date, remember?

Right. Well, I picked her up at her house. Brought her flowers. We went to this really nice restaurant.

How was the conversation?

It was good. I asked her about her job and the things she likes. Then she asked about my life.

And what did you tell her?

Well, I told her about my job, my kids, things I like to do…and my ex.

You talked about your ex on a first date? Please tell me you didn’t ramble on about another woman on a first date?

So I take it that’s a bad thing?

If you want another date, then yeah!  I think we found the root cause of your dating problems…never talk about your ex on the first date.

Lesson learned. You are so easy to talk to. Any chance you’d like to grab some coffee some time?

You’re easy to talk to, too, but I’m just not ready to date yet.

I understand. But would it be okay if I text you from time to time…you know, for more of your sage dating advice?

I think that’d be ok, Lucky.

Lucky, huh? All right, well ttyl, Coach! 😉

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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