Another short story written on my phone, originally as a Facebook status update.
It’s Christmas Eve.
But the morning of.
A family of four sits accross from me as the family of four who runs the place gets into a disaster argument in the kitchen behind me. A plate crashes. Dropped? Another plate crashes. Then what sounds like ten. Thrown. The guy to my right looks up and behind us and then at me, shaking his head. “Mexicans” he says, with a thick Italian accent, and then says something in Italian. I pretend to be English so he’ll go away and as usual it works.
Accross from us the family of four is having omlettes. All their toast is identical but all their sweaters are different. And expensive. They are a murder of cashmere defying the storm that howls against the picture windows. The parents are married. She’s a fake redhead and he’s probably in finance. The boy is their son and the girl is suffering through her introductory Christmas, maybe her introductory meal, while the radio plays “I found love in a hopeless place.” The Italian eyes her but not predatory, just listlessly, as if he were a sculptor. A sculptor played by Alfred Molina.
Behind us there is another crash and a shout.
I sip my coffee. I calculate the probability of ever receiving this bagel sandwich. Low, but more probable than being hit by lightning.
The boy is friendly handsome, and maybe twenty six. The girl is pretty, but smiles tightly while the father makes polite conversation and the mother just glares at her. She can feel the glares. So can the boy. He is gamely trying to engage the mother but she won’t give him an inch. She won’t look away from the girl. The girl is a real redhead.
Behind us there is the sound of a slap and then silence, every one of us looking up together, and I flash back on a bar in Tucson I once got stranded in while it #40daysand40nights poured outside and I sang karaoke with two football jocks and the waitress.
The father clears his throat. “What a lovely necklace,” the girl tells the mother and for a moment she softens, a faint smile as her hand glides up to touch the silver pendant that hangs around her neck.
The waitress delivers my bagel sandwich. She has tears running down her face. I pretend to be English and not notice it.
She tops off the Italian’s coffee. He says something to her in Spanish and her back freezes like a cat seeing a snake. Then suddenly she softens and, leaning over to kiss him, whispers, “I love you Grampa.”