The boy in the corner booth has been playing with the same cup of coffee the entire time we’ve been here. He sits hunched like he’s cold and turns the cup back and forth on it’s saucer. Every ten minutes or so, he lifts the cup. Sometimes he drinks, but mostly he just stares at the modern art of the brown ring on the white glaze. Then he takes a small black ring box from the pocket of his hoodie, fidgets with it, and goes into the lobby to make a phone call.
The interval gets shorter and shorter, and I look across the table at my partner in crime. Terry and I have not said a word about it, but we are watching the same movie. Has the girl stood him up? Will she come? Does she have any idea he’s waiting here, feeling the ring burn a hole in his pocket and his soul? We watch anxiously as he returns from each trip – still, no joy on his face. He finishes his coffee, and we picture him walking to his car, the credits rolling, the story ending with no resolution but how long he thought she was worth waiting for.
The waitress brings us coffee, and turns to the boy across the aisle and fills his cup again. He fidgets with the box, drops it on the table. The saucer clatters and the box pops open, spilling its contents across the table. It’s full of quarters for the phone….
The boy goes to call again, and Terry and I burst out laughing. The other people at our table are unaware of the movie we were watching, and now they’re wondering about our sanity.
There is no ring, no girl. We have let our imaginations run away with us. We are watching the wrong movie.
“He’s calling his connection…” she whispers and we begin a new script.