Her shoulders were as smooth as cannoli cream and against the ebony of her dress their vanilla luminosity bore witness to never having been kissed by the sun. Her auburn hair, the rich red of a slow simmered marinara, often worn cascading down her back, was tonight twirled upward into twists and turns, who’s ends escaped freely, curling into little smiles that graced her neck. Her arms were slender and graceful as he watched her reach for her glass of golden chardonnay. Tiny fingers intertwined slowly around the stem so not to detract from the coolness of the wine. She would take small sips as to make time not feel so rushed and once again she waited, hoping against hope, that tonight the wait would not be in vain. She seemed a sad and forlorn princess anticipating the arrival of her prince, who as seemed to be , was consistently errant. Over and again she would be disappointed.
She would arrive promptly at 6:45 always dressed to the nines as if to make a point: Somebody Special has arrived. Sitting at the intimate table, she would order a bottle of wine, with glasses for two, and would have it poured for her by Mario, her ever vigilant waiter, in anticipation of an eminent arrival. Seven would come then seven fifteen. Her head at first held high would slowly begin to dip but never did a sigh of melancholy escape from her lips. At seven thirty she would slowly rise and disappear into the night, leaving only an empty glass, a folded napkin and a crisp bill to pay for her intrusion, as proof that she ever been there at all.
Every night for the first week the diorama had played out and Mario had watched while he waited on her. She tried to maintain the valiant facade of retaining her dignity. Her belief that her prince would come was empowering her but it was only a matter of time before reality would raise it’s ugly head and truth would have to be faced.
She never spoke a word to Mario, other than to order the wine. Perhaps she was afraid if words were to allowed to trickle from her lips, then questions would ensue, ones whose answers would allow the tears and frustration to flow even more freely.
At the start of the second week, he had begun playing the game with her. Never speaking, but in a show of solidarity, Mario began bringing small antipasti dishes to the table. Just enough for two. A showing of camaraderie that indeed she would soon be joined by the fantasy prince. While she never acknowledged them, never once reaching out for a taste, the shared belief of his imagined support became like fuel to her fire.
Soon she came to think of the little plates, as gifts, offerings to keep the promise alive. He on the other hand, knew that they were only bribes, designed to lure her to return, so that when her eyes finally cleared, perhaps she would see him as her prince. The one never having to arrive, the one that had been there all along.
Thinking Ten- Member’s Pick, Friday: