I sat my ass down in the booth, and there Betty was, loyal like always, taking my order. Betty was a cool girl, not really the traditional ideal of what being pretty is, but nothing bad to look at. I say my peace to her, fold up my menu, and hand it to her, taking a little glance at her face.
“You’ve always got this sort of glum look to you, Oscar,” she said to me, conquering the customer-server wall that’s stood between us for such a long time by throwing a sort of unsavory looking rock over that hit me over the head in shock. My first reaction when anyone says much of anything to me is to make a joke about myself.
“Sorry, just comes with the body,” my dry humor said in reply, throwing the unsavory rock back over. I didn’t hear a wail of pain or disgust, but instead just heard a little giggle, like she turned the rock into a merry game of catch. After the giggle, she turned to walk away, her head facing towards me a little bit longer than her body, enough to give me a nice smile. She chewed on the cap of her pen as she walked back.
My brain spent two megawatts of electricity with all sorts suspicions/suggestions/paranoia about what had just happened. For the first time, I actually talked to Betty, and better still, she liked it. Or at least I think she did. A giggle and a smile is a good indicator, right? I watched her go from table to table, taking customers just like she did me. Maybe she’s paid to do that, to be cheery and nice and make lonely men get their hopes up. That’s kind of an ambiguous thing to measure though. How can they tell how well Betty’s led some guy on? That’s easy, by how much of an ass he makes of himself trying to talk to her later. She did chew her pen as she walked away though. Does that matter?
I ran myself ragged with all of my circular detective work, trying to figure out what a giggle really means, like it was a Platonic Form or some other vague philosophical abstract. When my mind got tired and let some sense come in, I heard the couple that was sitting in the booth behind me. They were talking plainly, without all of the mysteries that unsure words and gestures bring. They let themselves bare to each other, expressing what they were really feeling, getting rid of the rickety bridge of conversation and instead brought themselves closer to each other. No subject was off topic. Unabashedly, they discussed the most private moments of longing with each other, admitting that they imagined each being with each other, and reveled in all of it. There wasn’t anything poetically romantic about it, it was just truth with no guess work, so rare like diamonds that it shimmered. Their plain words seemed like it deserved some sort of soundtrack, something to draw more attention to what the world really needed, or at least, what I really needed.
Betty came to the table with my order, echoing my words to her from about half an hour ago, smiling, and asking me if that was all, and smiling. It was that smile. I didn’t want to worry about if it was true.
Rilo Kiley – Take-Offs and Landings
The Postal Service – Give Up
Jack Drag – Dope Box