Last night Kent and I ate at the Mexican restaurant at a little after five—latish for us, but early enough there was only one other family in the section where we eat: an attractive couple and two cute kids. The couple was seated together and the kids at another, fairly trashed table, kind of the way multiple adult mixed groups and their off-spring eat together. I noted that because Mommas and Daddys and Jrs. usually sit at the same table…it’s the mixed groups that give the kids the treat of trashing a table with their friends. Even then the Baby Sister, even if she’s all of five like this little one, usually sits with Mommy. My mind works this way ALL THE TIME.
The woman was attractive in that big-haired Barbie-Doll camouflaged make-up way that is common in My Town. The guy was starched shirt and pressed jeans handsome. They were talking to the waiter. “Going to the carnival?” the waiter asked him as we passed. The carnival was parked in the strip mall lot across the street. “As soon as we leave here,” the guy said.
“Don’t you do carnival rides before the kids eat?” Kent whispered in my ear. “That usually works out for the best,” I whispered back.
We sat at the table at the very back. That also usually works out for the best, given my tendency to stare as I get trapped in other people’s lives. Maybe we should sign up for cable t.v., or whatever people are watching these days.
The woman was querying the waiter about spinach. Apparently he had served it to her once, and it had been good, and even though it wasn’t on the menu, she wanted more. Spinach in a Mexican restaurant? Of course I was intrigued. She interrogated and badgered him as another waiter brought us chips and salsa, went back for cheese dip, returned again with our Cokes. They serve it in Grenada and Batesville and ah, um, oh Greenville. The other Mexican restaurant said they would get it, butI like it better here, why didn’t they get the spinach, I don't want to drive to Grenada every night, I mean every week-end to get my spinach, you should talk to the management, it was so good, I love the spinach, why didn’t they serve the spinach? she said in a margarita wheedle that some women think is sexy. If you do, let me tell you: not that I’m your type or anything, but I don’t think so. The whole time the little girl in her fancy pink flares and crop top, a little like Bo-Peep without the flounce, played up and down the section, stopping several times to flirt with us. Nobody ever said, “honey, come on back now.”
The man said, “Kids, y’all ready for that funnel cake?” Kent and I gasped at the same time and I could feel the drop in my stomach as the Ferris wheel swooped toward earth. We caught each other’s eye and sniggered. As the kids hoorayed for funnel cakes, the spinach segued into salsa. The waiter left to fetch the grown-ups some very hot salsa. Is it time to go? I wasn’t talking to him, you were the one who kept talking to him, I said, uh-huh, you were the one that asked him about the spinach, it wasn’t me, I wasn’t the one that kept talking to him, she said, her eyes fastened on her guy as he bounced Little Bo Peep in his lap until the waiter brought the very hot salsa. Um, good, it’s really good, don’t you think it’s good? she said. “You don’t want that,” the man told the kids. The little girl ran back to make eye-contact with us, because she knew we were seeing her, and that we thought she was cute. (By the way…the outfit was a tad fancy for a Saturday night at the Mexican restaurant, but it was lopsided, and her hair needed brushing. Just the facts, m’am.) The little boy picked up the salsa and pretended to slurp it down and nobody said put down the damn salsa, we’re going in minute. The woman never quit looking at the man.
Eventually they gathered up and wandered off, the man and the little girl first. The woman slid out of the booth and the boy made wild, wavy, I’m-gonna-get-you hands at her. I couldn’t really hear if she said stop that, but her flat expression and tensed body (boobsied, little-waisted, toned butt, every bit rigid) indicated if you touch me with that frog I’m going to kill you. Then they all were gone.
So what do you think the relationship between all those folks were? Have you got a little back story going on in your head? I know I do. I’m all about back story, including how how hormones interfer with recognizing a magnolia. I could be wrong. One thing was for sure, though…somebody was going to at least want to puke before the night was over.