The tinkling laughter of older women from the table next to us is able to distract me from my own thoughts that puddle around my feet. “He thought I was younger!” Their laughter peels the paint off the walls and sends the lead-laden flecks into the air. “He looked at me and said, “‘Forty?!’” “‘Four-oh?!’”
The next table has two theologians. One older woman, one younger. They are lovers. Interlocked and intertwined with their chairs close and studying, the sounds of their voices are hushed as they sink under the oak of the tables, folding themselves into tiny satin packages.
Bouncy Celtic music cocks my head towards my husband. I look at him and watch his eyes move wordless over the lines of a magazine. His knee bounces to the sound of a fiddle and drum without provocation and without shame. I want to reach out and lay my hand on his thigh, but private times are meant to be private.
The lovers whisper and glance at me as I pass to get water. The younger is kissed on her cheek
The laughing ladies throw napkins in the air to follow the howls of their guffaws.
The walls shake and separate, they lift and my thirst seems less of an issue.
The husband I left is quiet but bursting with unknown energies pulling at the strings of these walls.
And all that’s heard is page flipping. hums. and tap tap.