A short story I wrote on my phone while waiting in SFO to catch a plane to Tucson for my 20th high school reunion. Originally published as a status update on July 27, 2016.
Couple in their fifties sit in the airport breakfast shop, drinking mimosas and talking about Notre Dame. They have to be married but it seems like they are on a date. She keeps talking about Notre Dame the Cathedral and he keeps talking about the school.
“Vousdrais un autre mimosa?” he asks even worse than I can spell that; “Would the French find that charming?” she giggles, and accepts one more #mimosa, but this won’t be their last and the Mexican barista speaks better French, you can tell by the way she rolls her eyes at the blue-eyed boy she works with. He whispers something to her as she walks back to the counter and she stiffens but lets him smooth a lock of hair back behind her ear before bringing me a croissant and I think about how the airport must be a terrible place to be horny.
“We’ll talk to the guy when we get there and see what he thinks is a good investment,” the old guy says to Marie De Mimosa.
“Give me time,” she replies.
“Six months?” He asks and her bracelet clinks against the lip of the glass.
“Two years” she says and he nods. “We have time.”
“We have time.”
“It’s the first incident,” he says, “so we probably have time.”
Two girls in their twenties, both Asian, huge sunglasses, long hair, sundresses, arrive noisily and order #mimosas.
Blue-Eyes serves them and I pick at my croissant and take a picture out of the window and post it on Facebook. Donna Barista wipes my table down halfway before she sees me, appologizes.
“No matter” I say.
“You type fast,” she notes.
“I’m listening,” I say, and indicate the olds and she looks at them. “I hate when people my parents age sit around drinking at 9 am.”
“Maybe flying makes them nervous,” I offer.
“I think they’re having an affair,” she says, and goes back to the counter. I don’t point out their matching wedding rings because I’m sure she has to entertain herself somehow.
Blue-Eyes brings me a coffee I didn’t order, and when I tell him he says, “It’s cool. A woman just ordered it and left, so free refill.” I accept the sign from the universe and he wipes down the table next to me while the barista serves #mimosas to a man in a business suit and a kid who is probably his son, maybe not old enough to drink. They sit in the far corner and talk too quietly for me to hear.
“I’d hate to leave here,” the woman is saying, “but if that’s what it takes that’s what it takes.”
“It’ll be okay,” the man replies and orders another round, but the barista pretends not to hear it, Temperance personified. Blue-Eyes notices, gently touches her arm, gets the drinks himself while she stocks the pastry case.
“Your mother says you got into Brown,” the business man says to his son, just loud enough, and he who nods absently nods disdainfully aswell. He sits with his legs splayed open, his back against the wall, not looking at his dad. With one hand he keeps tapping a pack of cigarettes on the chair between his legs, methodically, with all the nineteen year old “go fuck your self” he can get away with.
We hit a quiet lull in the terminal.
“Where you going?” La Barista asks as she fills my cup again. Never has SFO so openly embraced me. Is this a good thing? “High school reunion,” I say.
“Oh.” And I notice she has a tattoo of a snowflake on her left wrist.
“She sounded so scared on the phone,” the woman says, and the man takes her hand and says, “Old people get that way sometimes,” and takes her other hand too. “It’ll be alright. We’ll get her set up and talk to the guy and see if there is a place nearby and maybe we rent it out to someone else for a while…” His voice trickles off. The woman looks away, pulls her hand away with the grace of decades of practice. “You always said you wanted fall colors again,” he offers, and then sighs, looks over at the man in the business suit. They exchange a middle aged shrug of solidarity and I notice the son is gone.
“I’m not ready yet,” the woman says again.
A tear slides down her face. She reaches up to wipe it away and spills her mimosa.