Galvin called me first thing in the morning and wouldn’t take the hint that during work hours I had better things to do than chew the fat with him, even if I was sitting in my home office instead of my downtown office. Finally I told him I’d meet him for lunch at that homey place on Main Street. I think the name is Amsebury Diner, but I’ve only heard it called Maude’s Place. I eat there most of the days I telework anyway, so meeting Galvin wouldn’t be an issue. I also felt a little guilty since I’ve been blowing him off for weeks. It’s just that, well, Galvin is Galvin and I don’t always have time for it.
About half way through lunch Galvin paused and just stared straight forward. He had been talking nonstop since we arrived, you know, how Galvin does, so I asked him if he was alright.
“That lady,” he said, nodding almost imperceptibly towards a couple who had just entered, “I think she’s deranged or something. I’ve seen her before. Just odd; odd.”
I couldn’t see anything about her or her dinner companion, at least nothing that would elicit that type of a response. The hostess seated them near us.
“They look normal to me,” I said.
“They?” he asked. “What do you mean?”
“Uhm, well, you’re talking about that lady there, right?” I asked.
“Yes, her,” he said. “I see her come in here occasionally, all alone, like today. She sits down with two menus and orders two meals. She pretends to talk to someone the entire meal. I guess the wait staff are understanding because they never flinch at her requests. Odd, just odd.”
“You are talking about the lady who just walked in and is at that table there, right?” He nodded. “The one sitting with the guy in the white dress shirt with a red and blue tie?”
“What? No. There’s no guy, no tie. What are you talking about?”
“Uhm, well, the lady right there, in a nice blue business suit, right?” He nodded. “Who is sitting across from a gentleman who was just served his lunch?”
“OK, I get it, it’s a joke,” Galvin said. “Sure, the waitress just placed a plate at that empty spot, but, you know. You’re just playing with me. Anyway, isn’t it strange? I mean, look at her! I’ve never seen anything as totally bonkers in my life.” He was shaking.
I couldn’t tell if he was joking, Galvin looked so serious, frightened, actually.
I turned my attention back to my lunch, but Galvin just sat hunched over, arms crossed so he grabbed his shoulders. He continued to shake. I could tell he wasn’t going to eat anymore. I had to get back to work, so when I finished I asked if he was done. He solemnly nodded his head. I called the waitress over to pay.
On the way out Galvin went out of his way to avoid walking by the table with the lady. It was as if she were a rabid dog. A few of the patrons watched him, but the lady and her companion never acknowledged his behavior.
As soon as we left the restaurant he was back to his old self and wouldn’t stop talking. He walked with me almost to my door and didn’t pause long enough for me to get a word in edgewise. It was typical Galvin prattle without a word about the restaurant or the woman.
— — — — —
For some reason this scene came to mind. It seems to be part of something larger and most likely will become part of a bigger story. Of course, is Galvin delusional or is there really something up with the man in the restaurant? You’ll find out if and when I do make the full story!