He sat, hunched over his grande red cup and pulled the strings connecting his two tea bags as he repeatedly dunked them into the steaming, hot liquid.
“Strong drink you have over there?” I called to him, making conversation.
He heard, unsure for a moment, and then when the clarity came, like a cloud moving away from where it blocked the sunlight, he turned slowly and smiled.
His face changed.
Without the clever words it would take to continue the banter, finally he turned around and returned to his monotonous activity.
But he sat a little taller.
And that made me smile.
Maybe when his wife (no ring but his clothes are of one who’s settled, far away from the dating scene) finally came to rescue him, he would feel more confident, looking around to catch my eye, and give me the glance, surreptitiously saying with a look, “I’m taken but thanks for noticing and validating me.”
Or maybe, he’s already lost in his thoughts and he’s forgotten the attractive woman who initiated a conversation with him, tearing the shroud of loneliness that hung around his table like a dark curtain.
Yes, maybe he’s already forgotten our brief exchange.
Although the smile that still lingers at the corner of his mouth says otherwise.