He sat down at his favorite Italian place and ordered his favorite pasta and a beer. College basketball played silently from a discreet TV in the corner. A couple nearby were in a huddle over a plate of bruschetta. His buddy Sean, whom he’d known since high school, was behind the bar.
Just a nice, quiet Friday night.
When she came in, it was close to midnight and the place was empty but for a birthday group on its third bottle of wine. She sat down with a stool between them and Sean poured her a glass of white.
Small talk developed. Relaxed, he let slip a controversial opinion. He felt like Seattle was becoming a cultural dictatorship, so occasionally he liked to test someone. See how easy it would be to offend their PC sensibilities.
To his surprise she was not only not offended, she agreed, rejoined in fact. They took it further. Next thing he knew she had scooted over to the stool next to his, and he had ordered her another glass, and then…
He remembered to mention his fiancee. She remembered she had a ferry to catch. And as quickly as their connection had been made, it was over. She was gone. He paid Sean for his meal. Friday night ended with him walking home to walk his dog, and with her vowing to herself to time her evenings better so that she wasn’t stuck killing time with interesting strangers.
Strangers who had other commitments.