People watching is the best show on earth...

Oct 12, 2007

Last Supper

. Oct 12, 2007

Views

I'm at a favorite neighborhood coffee shop for a quick dinner. The servers are very friendly and always stand at the ready with endless refills of beverages, condiments, dessert samples and extra napkins. A lot of regulars dine here, myself included. An older man and I face each other, with an empty booth in between. He is white, wears a cap with an American flag patch and unzips a sensible blue windbreaker as he settles in to his seat. He unfolds a newspaper and looks around, acknowledges several servers with a wave and a smile. Within minutes, a young brunette comes over and gives him a hug:


Waitress: How are you today?
Man: I'm alright, honey. How 'bout you? How's school going?
Waitress: Oh, it's going. It's hard. I have two chem classes.
Man: Well you stick with it, honey. You're a smart cookie and you'll do fine.
(Two more waitresses come over, along with a young man)
After more greetings:
Man: Well, it looks like this is gonna be it. I'm leaving Sunday for my daughter's.
Waitress: Oh no, William! You really are leaving us?
Man: If my daughter'll have me. She might change her mind. Haha! It's the best thing, honey. She worries about me.
Waitress #2: William this place will not be the same without you. We'll miss you.
Man: Well I'll sure miss you all, too. And my pot roast dinner!

More staff stops by and exchange well-wishes. The man is jovial and smiles amidst handshakes and hugs. After he's ordered his meal and the waitresses tend to other tables, he lowers his head for a moment. He takes his glasses off and wipes one cheek with his hand. He takes out a handkerchief and quickly dabs at both eyes. He removes a pill bottle from his jacket pocket, uncaps it and swallows the mediation with a big gulp of water. He busies himself with his newspaper and his pot roast soon arrives. As the waitress sets the dish on his table, he places his hand on hers for just a few seconds, then gives it a light pat and winks.

When she walks away from him and toward me, she wipes tears away.

32 Whispers:

karen said...

Okay. This totally made me cry.

footiam said...

Creative writing! Interesting!

deathsweep said...

This post brings to mind a song that mentions "love comes from the most unexpected places" and so does simple friendship. These servers that you mention are obviously a big part of Williams day to day being and the parting of their paths will be a loss in his life.

DS

Missladybug said...

Your blog is so compelling. I really love what you are doing. You are listening in, per se, but what you select, is so obviously well-chosen and there is a message, often. Love it. You are perhaps not a secret anymore, but I am still offering you the Best Kept Secret award. Come pick it up at http://ladybugandco.com. Good luck to you.

Vienne said...

Hi Karen, me too! I sat there with misty eyes myself. I kind of lost my appetite after I observed this 'goodbye'. And I don't often lose my yen for delicious patty melts.

Thanks, footiam!

Deathsweep, you are right. I felt like he was a surrogate grandpa to them, especially the waitress serving him last night. It was a touching moment.

Thank you, MissLadybug! I will come over shortly and check that out. I appreciate you visiting.

Michael said...

He was obviously a well loved customer, I bet they wished all their customers were like him.

Do you carry a notebook around to record all you hear. I have several Molekine notebooks, and try to record all the overheard conversations I hear that are interesting.

Missladybug said...

Of course...I am thrilled to have found you, so I wanted others to read too. Such a unique blog. Thanks for the visit too and the compliments. ;)

Vienne said...

Hello Michael, I carry a tiny handheld recorder in my bag everywhere I go. I don't record conversations, of course. It's not powerful enough for that, plus that's creepy and maybe even illegal! But I do observe, absorb all I can and then record my own reminders into the handheld directly after to help me replay the conversation.

Vienne said...

Thanks, Ladybug. You flatter me! I'm working on my 'secret' post.

Leann I Am said...

What an awesome story! You don't see too many 'regulars' like that anymore!

kml said...

Another great post - very touching!

Doug said...

Each year I do a bike ride across the state with my son and about 200 others. We typically stay in small towns one of the most enjoyable parts of the trip is to visit the small town restaurants/diners. Most of them have "regulars"; people the servers know by name and even what they eat. Countless times I've seen them come over with food, without taking an order. Just his regular dish, at his regular place.

Sounds like Willam was a Norm (Cheers).

Vienne said...

Hi Doug, he sure did seem like a Norm, with about 20 years added on! I just know he's a nice man who brought encouragement to the young servers there. I don't know him past recognizing him by sight, but I hope he'll be happy in his new home.

Mr. Grudge said...

I love your ability to capture a scene, with all of the emotion, in a poignant vignette. Touching scene. Very well written. I enjoy your blog.

HunryGhost said...

Wow - this is a wonderful story. I like how you set the man up - cap with American flag and simple jacket. I immediately felt as if I could know this man.

nice work

Vienne said...

Thanks, Mr. Grudge, this is precisely why I like eavesdropping and find it so useful - the emotion is usually unchecked and, well, real.

Hungryghost, I had the same feeling of familiarity about this man. I've been at the diner the same time as he was a few times, but we've never spoken. Still, he seemed like the kind of guy who would invite you to sit down if he caught you looking.

Jack Payne said...

Hey, Eavesdropper...

What a site. What a compelling idea. This is really creativity optimized. Digging out all the hidden stories, from the proud to the pathetic to the puerile to the profane.

I'm impressed.

Vienne said...

Welcome to Eavesdrop, Jack. Thanks for the generous compliments and for teaching me a new adjective! I'm going to work 'puerile' into a conversation tomorrow somehow, some way.

I see you're a published author.
Congratulations on your achievements. Vienne

clairec23 said...

It actually brought tears to my eyes.

I'm sorry but I tagged you for a meme. If you want to join in this is the link, but you don't have to!

http://beboauthor.blogspot.com/2007/10/spreading-fame-meme-style.html

The Writing Nag said...

love it! Being in the restaurant business for more than 20 years this really hits home. We really do love the regulars!

mikster said...

What a nice post. This just another example of how sometimes it's the little things in life bring about pleasure.

thewishfulwriter said...

dude, I'M crying!

and i totally love William.

Vienne said...

Hi Wishful, I love the personality that comes across in your comment! I'm with you and so were all of those servers - William seemed like a wonderful guy.

Mike Davis said...

So many stories start forming...great post and an insightful prompt.

Thanks for dropping in on my blog today.

Vienne said...

Welcome to Eavesdrop, Mike. Thanks for the return visit and kind words.

AntiBarbie said...

My friend is in the restaurant business for over 15 years and she's developed pretty close relationships with her regulars. They even buy her presents on her birthday.

Vienne said...

Antibarbie, I think simple friendships like that are those sweet stitches in time everyone could benefit from. My diner is down the street from a senior living complex so a lot of the patrons are older and surrogate grandparents to the servers.

DrowseyMonkey said...

That made me cry ... and I'm usually too much of a curmudgeon to do that.

Vienne said...

Hi Drowsey, me too. The teary waitress really moved me. I hope William is doing okay in his new home.

LORD MANILA STONE said...

this is making me mushy, isn't that heartwarming to see a scene like that?

Vienne said...

Yes, it certainly is, Lord Manila. Made me sad, but also hopeful to see friendship between generations.

Funepets said...

Evesdrop -- As always you are the best. I have only visited your blog a few times, but have cherished every visit so far. :-)

Keep up the good work. Guess you have a new funnyfriend....oops no...funepets. :-)

 

Gas Money Tip Jar. Promote Your Site Here!

Listening In

Eavesdroppers Speak

Stand Out!
Thank you for visiting! Eavesdrop again soon. Subscribe for instant updates.

tracker
| Creative Commons License | Powered by  MyPagerank.Net
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 License.
Eavesdropping Blogger is proudly powered by Blogger.com | Template by o-om.com | Customized by blog author Vienne with excellent hacks from Blogger Buster