It was 12:36pm. We were seated at a booth near a window overlooking the ice rink at Union Square. My lunch date talked about shopping and clothing and men but I wasn't really listening. To get to this restaurant on the 7th floor of Macy's, we had to pass the seasonal display, the sight of which sucker-punched me into a state not conductive to sociability. The first Christmas without my father is approaching and I am dreading it. I miss him terribly.
I focused on the rather lengthy menu but could feel the weight of someone's stare. Looking up, I met the gaze of a man seated at a table to my left. He resembled an elderly Spike Lee and was dressed quite dapper for what appeared to be a solitary dining excursion. He smiled warmly at me and didn't blink. I averted my gaze out of habit, as I am wont to do when someone challenges my aplomb.
"I'll have the soup of the day and a salad."
In between listening to the one woman dialogue at my table and watching a flock of pigeons terrorize the patrons seated on the patio, I continued sneaking a glance at the man at the next table. He didn't look away. Now nor did I. I smiled back at him. He nodded.
I observed as a waiter brought his order. A large bowl containing a hot fudge sundae. My soup and salad arrived shortly thereafter. We ate in synchronicity.