There’s this new, little cafe I’ve been gracing that’s quaint and cheap with enough charm to keep me going back.
I go in the latter part of the day after the lunch crowd leaves, nestled at a table observing its comings and goings as though I were watching a play.
An older couple sits adjacent to me drinking espresso, sharing a piece of lemon cake. She is digging something out of her purse while he sits with his legs sprawled in the aisle. It’s as though they were in their own living room.
He’s 80 if he’s a day with liver spots that make him look like a crinkled leopard. She abruptly gets up to go to the ladies room whispering something to him before she leaves. He starts fiddling with a hospital bracelet on his right wrist. He sees me looking, so he triumphantly yanks it off like she’s cuffed him from behind. I give him two-thumbs up that reaps a sly smile.
When the woman reappears they prepare to leave. I wonder why he didn’t pay. Maybe she’s an heiress who can afford cake and pricey cups of Italian coffee.
He keeps peering at me over his three ply coked glasses that remind me of an X-ray machine in a leisure suit.
They kiss briefly in front before parting in opposite directions.
Five minutes later as I’m grazing through my greens, who do I see stepping back into the cafe but this man who is suddenly standing at my table.
“Excuse me,” he says as though he were about to ask for directions, “this is strictly on impulse, but would you mind if I join you?”
“Yes, I would,” I quickly say, adding a, “but thank you anyway,” to soften the blow.
He looks stunned that I would actually deny someone I gave the high sign to. He quickly turns on his heel and marches out.
Klaven, the bus boy who rarely says a word, begins to laugh. I look at him over my wineglass realizing he’s right, it is funny how men keep at it even when their wrists are still warm from hospital bracelets while willing women pick up their tab.
I wondered about my own demeanor. That small display of recognition registering as an invitation, as though it were code to come hither. He was so old and creaky with an ego that clearly still held cards close to his chest forgetting…a straight flush, after all, still beats a full house.
I call my friend, Camille, to tell her I was almost picked up by an outpatient.
She said I should have let him sit down so he’d pick up my check.
“But he didn’t pick up his own Camille…the woman he was with did.”
“What was she wearing?”
“A baggy orange sundress.”
“What were you wearing?”
“My pink Carolina Herrera.”
“He would have picked up your check.”
“He was 80 Camille.”
“And still breathing.”
This entry was posted in Fashion
, New York City
, Women and men
and tagged Carolina Herrera
, dirty old men
, Italian cafes
, late lunch
, pick-up lines
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