Fanfare for the Common Man

  • Wednesday, March 13, 2013

An accidental Saturday affair

I was dining out as I do every Saturday afternoon, at the Olive Garden. That’s when I saw her, the object of my accidental Saturday affair.
Those green eyes, twin emeralds, flashing at me from the far seat at the bar.
To describe her beauty is to attempt to describe the beauty of the sunrise at dawn. If they say a picture is worth a thousand words, then this angel smiling at me and flashing those green eyes is worth a thousand pictures.
She dined on Fettuccini Alfredo and a glass of red wine.
I enjoyed a luncheon of unlimited soup, salad and bread sticks, and a tall glass of sweet tea. Men wept as she passed, knowing they will never experience her beauty.
But she smiled at me over the rim of her wine glass as I shoveled a big spoonful of chicken gnocchi and snatched my heart from my chest.
She wore a simple blue pullover and made it look like a million bucks.
I wore my Father Flannigan outfit of black on black because it was the only thing left not dirty and I hadn’t done laundry this month.
She is reading, a tome by Hemingway, his “A Movable Feast.” I had just purchased the latest Walking Dead comic from Books a Million.
She looked again at me from across the bar and smiled. Perhaps I stirred a misplaced morsel of memory, or reminded her of an old friend. Maybe she found something in my face desirable and wanted to know more as I munched on a forkful of salad.††
I nodded and raised my glass of sweet tea to her in a toast and mouthed the word, “Cheers,” around a big hunk of breadstick.
Something in my heart went pitter patter as she smiled again and slowly lowered her hand to her chest, the left side just above the heart and tapped her chest just like Sammy Sosa and silently said, in French no less, Je t’aime, I love you.
My heart swelled as she nodded and did it again, touched her hand to her chest, the left side, and tapped twice, the universal sign for “I love you,” as according to Sammy Sosa.
I nodded vigorously, “Yes, YES! Je t’aime! Je t’aime! I love you too!” And wept openly into my bowl of chicken gnocchi soup.†
As if to profess her love for me to the world she tapped her chest yet again – what did I do to deserve this blessing bestowed by the Fates?
And then I understood, she wanted me to reply and as I slowly lowered my own hand to my chest, mimicking her movements, she nodded more vigorously herself, and if I could see that far across the bar I’m sure she too wept into her Fettuccini Alfredo.
She pointed as if to say, “Yes, you are doing it right.”
So I touched my hand to my chest, left side, above the heart.
And felt a warm, sticky mess of Chicken gnocchi goo.
Set against the Father Flannigan black of my jacket, the long dripping stain of yellow chicken gnocchi looked like I’d missed my mouth altogether with one of those shoveling spoons.
And because I am a lovesick idiot she even grabbed her napkin to show me I needed to wipe off my jacket.†
I smiled and replied in French because it is the language of love.
“Merde,” I mean, “Merci.”

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