A cousin who would qualify as an aunt started a Closed Group on Facebook titled “Word A Day Writing Exercise”. Since I am articulate online, she invited me. The bulk of members are middle-aged non-writer types flexing their first-person essayist muscle. Since I’m a troll, I post things like this:
Word of the Day: Mother
She wasn’t going to follow in her mom’s lonely footsteps, she reminded herself.
Jenn shifted slightly in her seat as her eyes scanned over the empty restaurant foyer. She’d forgotten to bring her book club’s current selection since she figured Ryan’d be on time. He had responded to her text message earlier this evening, so she felt comfortable not bringing her usual crutch. Jenn didn’t want to patently reveal that she expected her loneliness or was desperate to avoid appearing that way. Not with Ryan tonight. She rationalized to herself that the subdued lighting would’ve made it more difficult, despite the candle flickering on the two-top between her and the empty chair.
Jenn pulled out her phone to read through her emails, demurely sipping on her water as she re-read her responses in her Sent folder. She relievingly read her emails to her boss, her subordinates, and various clients from earlier in the day. She had felt rushed earlier, so she needed to reassure herself of veracity, tone of voice, and rhetorical positioning.
“Something other than water, m’am?” asked her willowy, ashen-haired waiter.
Jenn had to consider it for a moment while her hazel eyes scanning all the nearly silhouetted cocktails sweating along the long bar stretching away from her. Their caretakers’ fingertips lightly petting them as their caretakers shouted back and forth seeds of conversation that’d never be harvested.
The waiter shot his aqua blue eyes down the front side of Jenn’s loose-fitting peasant top, capitalizing on the overflow of its ill-fitting cups. His eyes drank up what they could before returning back to Jenn’s.
Jenn stared as the younger pairs chattered, while the older ones silently stared ahead at the oversized fish tank providing a break from the other type of windowed entertainment. Jenn looked back to her willowy waiter, who expectantly shot his soft smile back.
“Can I get an orange and grapefruit juice mixed together? Anything without alcohol.”
“But of course, madam!” replied the waiter as he turned on the worn rubber heels of his shoes,”I’ll have the barkeep squeeze you a whole carafe,” walking away from Jenn toward the back-of-house.
As Jenn’s eyes watched him walk away, she noticed Ryan slip through an exiting crowd. Ryan approached the hostess stand, mouthing the data points he knew. He pulled his phone out of his suit pocket to wait while the nubile hostess in a black thigh-high cocktail dress stared at her reservation book. She motioned in Jenn’s direction. Jenn preemptively waved her hand. Ryan’s lostness evaporated as he moved toward Jenn.
Jenn breathed in deeply as Ryan approach. She did not stand up as he got to the table.
“Heeeey! You cut your hair! It looks good!” Ryan said as he leaned over the table to hug Jenn. Jenn rose slightly to make the effort.
“Thanks!” she said setting herself back down onto the bench seating, “I just got it done a few months ago. Still getting used to it.”
“So what’s been going on? How you been? What’s it been, what, almost 6 months since we last saw each other?”
She stared at the fish tank with the fishes singley floating about inside: some upward, some left, some downward, some right, some diagonally, some idly.
Jenn’s thoughts went to those evening walks she and her mom would take, side-by-side. She looked back at Ryan’s soft, curling smile. His teeth. His aqua blue eyes.
“Yeah works been crazy…” she smiled softly.