The Lunch Date

His back was to me as he sat down at the corner diner table with his older companion. He was a man in glasses. I did not mean to eavesdrop but it was near impossible not to.

“You know, my book was published. My book was published and it has made quite a noise.” Silence on her part. He went on, “Yeah, it has made the top ten list and Number One in political books.” She interrupts, “My phone just made a sound and I don’t know what it means.” “Oh, I bet it was a voice mail.” “A voice mail? I don’t know what to do…”

“Let me take a look at your phone…Oh yes, it’s a voicemail. Shall I listen for you?”

“Okay, why not?” He presses the necessary buttons, holds the phone to his ear and repeats to her what he is hearing. “Do you want to call back or take down the number to call later?”

“No. No, I’m not interested.” “So,” he goes on, “I’m going to make the talk show circuit. NBC has me scheduled for an interview and maybe Fox, as well. This is really a big deal.” “Huh, I think I’ll have the tuna salad.” “That’s a very good choice at this place.” “Okay then, I’ll have that.” The waitress swings by and says,” I’ll be back in a minute.” A minute of quiet ensues as they wait for the waitress to take their order. They order two of the same.

I’m feeling bad for the guy, motherly actually, recognizing how much he wants to impress this lady. I imagine she is the sister of his dead beloved mother. She has nothing to give. I think she must have a failure of a son and is threatened by her nephew’s success.

Nothing new goes on, just more of the same conversation with slightly different ways of putting the words together, filling the time of this unfulfilling lunch date.

I stand to leave and debate with myself, deciding to go the route of compassion. As I pass him I say cheerily, “Congratulations.” “Huh?” “On your book.” Taken aback and pleased in one expression he says, “Thank you!” I pay the check and as I pass him again he is in a reverie of either confusion or pride or both.

–Rev. Lynn


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