Sunday, July 16, 2006

A Cold Supper

Last night Husband and I went to eat at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants. As we were seated and began to munch on chips and salsa, I couldn't help but notice the family in the booth across from us. The woman sat on one side by herself all the way next to the wall. The man sat on the other side all the way next to the aisle, and the little girl, about three years old, sat next to him (this was one of those really wide booths that can sit three adults on each side). The woman stared out the door of the restaurant, and the man stared in the other direction toward the kitchen, while the little girl kept herself busy finishing her meal. No one spoke except for when the man answered his phone, which rang three different times.

I said to Husband, "Those people don't like each other very much." He was sitting at such an angle that he couldn't easily see the other couple, so I described the situation. Occasionally he stole a glance in their direction to see what was happening.

After the second phone call, the man tossed his keys over to the woman, apparently indicating that she could go sit in the car if she wanted (I couldn't hear what was said). They had finished their meal and were waiting for the child to finish, neither really paying her much attention. She seemed oblivious to what was happening. The woman did not take the keys and leave. Instead, she replied something to him (again unaudible to me), and as she did she made a gesture with her hand sort of like a chopping motion. She was obviously pissed off at this guy. As she spoke, she looked at him with the coldest look I have ever seen--not a look of anger or hurt, but one that lacked any passion at all. If he had suddenly keeled over and died, she would have picked up her child and walked out of the restaurant without a backward glance.

I relayed all of this to Husband, who even though he couldn't see much, could tell without a doubt, even from only cursory glances, that this couple was not happy and probably had not been for a while. We remarked on how sad the situation was, especially for the little girl.

There's really not a point to this story, no real reason for telling it to you except that it was an interesting look into the lives of other people. It's amazing what you can tell about someone just from a brief encounter. It's also surprising that people who have such an intense problem don't even try to mask it in public. If they are that transparent out in front of strangers, I wonder how horrible life must be at their home in private where they can say and do what they want. I can't imagine what their little girl is exposed to. I imagine that family is a divorce in the making.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Those kind of situations make me physically ill and not in a metaphorical way.

All the sadness and the pain gets to me. I, like you, am torn up about how it is affecting the child.

It is a very broken world.