It’s the middle of the day, and they walk in with their matching T-shirts.
He pulls her chair out and helps her into her seat. Next, he removes his place setting from across the table and places it next to hers. She smiles sweetly.
The waitress quickly removes the “Reserved” sign and presents them both with a goblet of fresh water.
Maybe they are in their early eighties. Or late eighties, I can’t tell.
They open their menus and start reading.
The waitress reappears with alcoholic drinks. They thank her, look at each other, and toast. Joy beams in their eyes.
What’s their story, I wonder.
They share a large fruit and cheese plate. I watch as they delight in dipping each piece of crusty bread into the creamy dip and concentrate on each small bite of food. Their conversation is hushed.
I wish I could hear.
They also speak with their eyes, and I can’t stop looking at them. But they are totally oblivious to anyone but each other.
Maybe they are celebrating a special anniversary, and noon is easier to get out than at night. Or they just reached a milestone in her cancer treatment.
He takes his napkin and dabs the corner of her mouth.
Or maybe this is their Thursday routine. They might just be this good at living fully in the moment.
The fruit and cheese plate is empty now, and they linger in comfortable silence.
He pays the bill with real money that he pulls out of a worn brown leather wallet. He helps her up out of her chair, grabs her hand and gently leads her out of the pub.
I want to follow them home, but I stay seated and finish my chowder. I reach over and take my husband’s hand.
“Remember when we saw those old, old people in the woods when we were trying to figure out if we belonged together some forty years ago?”
“I sure do,” he says. “We considered them a picture of what might be.”
“We even thought they were angels, remember? Showing us the way? Showing us that we were going to make it and grow old together?” he adds.
“Oh I do,” I answer. “I think I just saw them again.”