Thursday, January 9, 2014

Michela Walters Week 81: Lunchtime Voyeur

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Michela Walters’s Picture Choice: 1

Title: Lunchtime Voyeur

She comes in every Tuesday like clockwork. Exactly at eleven thirty five and orders an iced tea and the fruit plate. She brings a book, but even as busy as lunch hour can get, I see her staring longingly at the hotel doors across the street. She never comes with anyone, ever and whatever table she eats at must be by the window or outside. I’m not sure who she’s stalking, but based on the bottice-ripper romance novel she comes in with, I assume she’s one of those lonely women with six cats. Not exactly sure why I think this, because she’s fairly attractive, her bangs are bluntly cut and does nothing for the shape of her face. Her nose is a tad too pointed, eyes a bit too close together, to really call her pretty. For some reason, today, I feel like putting an end to the ridiculous riddle of a woman and wander over to her table when I have a free minute.

“So… whatcha reading?” My tone speaks volumes about how little I think of her choice in reading materials.

Her face turns as red as the strawberry she has perched on the edge of her lips, just about to take a bite. “I’m sorry, what?”

“I was just curious what you were reading--or not really reading.”

Her head tilts to the side, while her eyes squint into tiny slits as she tries to come up with what I’m hoping is an interesting answer. “Not that it’s any of your business, but I come here for the view.”

“So I’ve noticed. What’s so special about the Avery Park Plaza Hotel that gets you to come here every Tuesday?” My hip leans against the side of her table, firmly blocking her view of the hotel she hasn’t taken her eyes off of.

It’s as if my words suddenly punctured her little world. Her lips quiver and eyes get big and watery. “Aw, crap. What’d I say now?” My boss is going to have my head for starting some kind of tearfest in one of our regulars. I pat her shoulder, giving what little empathy I’m capable of feeling for a complete stranger.

She looks up at me after pulling herself together somewhat and blurts, “My husband has been having an affair with his trainer every Tuesday at that hotel, that’s what.”

This juicy little tidbit is not what I am expecting. “That really sucks, but can I ask you why you’re sitting here watching him do it when you should be either divorcing his ass or extracting some sort of evil revenge?”

Her face softens a little and her reply comes out barely above a whisper, “I guess I just want to know what makes her so special, you know? After eight years, I thought we were actually pretty happy. I mean, we have the usual arguments and things that drive you crazy, but I love him."

After feeling so little empathy for the woman before, I’m suddenly overflowing with pity for having to watch your life crumble before your eyes. To actually bear witness to your husband’s infidelity week after week, seems torturous to me. “Umm… I still don’t understand why you watch each week.”

“I guess I’m hoping one week he just won’t show up and maybe we can start all over.” She shrugs and hands me her credit card. “I know it’s stupid to have hope, but we have two kids and I’m not ready to be a single mom.”

I don’t have a reply or any words of wisdom, instead I’m left with the answers I came over here looking for, but an empty feeling inside for intruding on her personal pain. Lesson learned.

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Michela Walters is a wife, mother and book enthusiast. She is currently attempting her hand at writing her first romantic fiction novella. You can read her other stories on her blog: michelawalters.wordpress.com

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