Two Older Couples Visit the Restaurant on a Late Summer Evening

The first walked through the door
beaming with pride, and eager
explaining to the hostess, then the busboy
“It’s our anniversary,”
before asking for a larger table—the two-top doesn’t do the occasion justice

shortly after, the other enters, arm-in-arm
he’s holding her close and whispering something to her
she tries to suppress her giggles long enough to say
“table for two, please”
the two follow slowly behind the hostess, passing the celebrants on their way to a two-top

the celebrants are at the salad bar, selecting from coleslaw and cottage cheese
and taking notice of other customers
like the pair of love-birds who walk by, embarrassing themselves
and the parties of six or eight, whose multiple conversations carry well
in the otherwise quiet restaurant, whose salad bar is second to none in town

the love-birds sit close together at their small table, ordering a bottle of champagne
not to celebrate anything in particular
just because it’s nice to have a bottle on ice
next to the table as they gaze into each other’s eyes

and the celebrants have wine
“your best please, two glasses”
but the gentleman requests also a light beer
’cause it goes better with the baked potato

and while the love-bird never manage to get to the salad-bar
the celebrants’ meals come just as they finish the plates of dressed-up lettuce
and they continue to focus on their work of eating
while the love-birds take great pains to squeeze in bites between discussions of
family members, upcoming marriages, and memorable moments from past years

the celebrants finish their meal and the waitress takes their platters
before marching triumphantly to the table
with an ice-cream treat topped with a single candle

the love-birds remain in their seats, meals not finished
holding hands as they smile at the celebrants
who smile back before putting out their candle
in order to share their cold, sweet desert

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