Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Saturday Night Gentleman

Saturday night I went to dinner at a restaurant downtown called Tango. It was my companions' choice, and I was satisfied with it. We sat at the bar and ordered there.

At one point a gentleman sat to my left, but it was stilted and awkward.

As he left, another gentleman sat. He took his time looking over the menu, and I could hear little coos and ahhs as he took in his choices. It was completely for his own benefit; he wasn't attention seeking. Just absorbed in his joy at the possibility of some culinary delight. I mentioned that the dish I had had was amazing and that opened the door for a wonderful exchange.

We shared some pleasantries and I got pulled back into conversation with my friends.

A polite tap on my shoulder, "This really is fantastic. You must try it. No, no, I know it's not the done thing, but this is too good to have to myself. I would share this joy with you."

It was so charmingly and disarmingly done, and I shared a few bites of his food.

We talked about his story, his life in Spain before moving to the states, his wife of 35 years (whom he completely adores and worships), his family (he carries pictures of his grown children), his incomplete love of the culinary arts, the artistry of the foods he was eating. He could not have possibly been a better dinner companion.

At the end of his meal, he asked if he could buy me a drink. I politely refused (I had already had one) and he clasped both my hands, told me he wished his wife had been able to join us for dinner because we would have loved one another, kissed my cheek and left.

It was the sweetest surprise dinner date I've ever had.

My friends never even noticed, so enamored were they in their budding romance. And that was perfect.

Thank you, sir, for the wonderful meal.

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