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Moonrise at the Waterfront Cafe
The sun had just set and dusk was pouring over the Lake Michigan horizon when she walked into the Waterfront Cafe. As I grabbed my beer and headed out to the patio, I intentionally backed out the door in order to give her a second glance. Dishwater blonde hair seemed to blend into the cheesecloth top, which merged into the khaki slacks she wore. I overheard her order a “Midsummer’s Night Dream,” a salad concoction they served here, and a glass of Sangria. I caught her eye, just before I spun out the door to find a seat close to the water.
I couldn’t tell, right then, if they were blue or green, but her eyes changed from the look of desire at first, then hurt, immediately after, as she looked away taking on an aura of false contemplation. She came out to the patio and settled at a small table beside me. She placed a small beige purse on the table, and as she drummed her fingers against her glass I noticed the discolored indentation on the finger, where it was obvious a wedding ring belonged.
She was a handsome woman, maybe pushing forty, but she wore it well. When her salad arrived, she jumped, startled by the waiter, as she was lost amongst the tiny waves that rippled up against the shore. She let out a nervous laugh, apologized, and asked him if he’d bring another drink on his return. Returning to the drink she had, her fingers gripped the vessel, with which she previously had toyed, but at this moment, with more serious intent. She glanced around, and now, her eyes were green. The fawnish gaze and hurting stare were nowhere to be found. She laughed, and shook her head, as if to shake off some conflicting thought. Her hands brushed back her hair and exposed the glisten of a tear falling down her cheek, revealing hints of some depressed confusion. Slowly then, she went about her dinner, and appeared to calculate its every bite, regally, like it had been rehearsed, taking momentary pauses, as if to inspect each tiny forkful in review.
She seemed to grow increasingly demanding with each drink that she ordered until the moon broke the horizon and let its beam flow towards us on the lake. She got up off her seat and walked up to the rope that separated sea from shore and stared out at the water, and loudly whispered, “Damn him.”
With her demons now, supposedly released, she turned away from staring eyes, except for mine; walked over to my table and sat down. With a look of wounded soul, she said, “My name’s Renee.” Her face was now a roadmap of Bondo masquerade, with Alice Cooper dripping from her lashes. A hint of crow’s feet showed around her eyes, and she had a cut below her lip. She asked, “Why do things happen?’ I didn’t have an answer, so we stared out at the moon until we finished both our drinks.
I walked her to her high-rise down the street, where the doorman knew her name, and after his assurance she would be alright, I placed her in his hands and watched him walk her to the elevator door. She placed a ring back on her finger just when the elevator opened as I turned around and left alone.