Proper Positioning

I suppose it’s one of those things where you just have to keep on doing what you’re doing and just get through it. I had planned on a quiet lunch.

Some chicken noodle soup, an olive roll. Nothing too extravagant. Besides, my throat was bothering me and it was the only thing that sounded good.

When I got to the tables, there were a few people there. Not my favorite, I do prefer to be alone when I eat. I had to settle with a table that was comfortably between a couple of people on their lunch break.

I had taken a bite out of the olive roll and had a spoonful of soup, with a little bit of chicken on it when I started hearing part of the conversation on my right.

It wasn’t intentional eavesdropping, but there wasn’t any thing else for me to listen to. No incidental music. No traffic. No cleanup in aisle eight chatter of a normal grocery store.

I’m listening to bits and pieces of a conversation, and I find that it’s getting more and more uncomfortable.

From what I can piece together, the woman is ending the relationship, and the man is sitting there listening as she outlines every single reason and lambasts him.

Adultery, lying, forgiving him, then abusing the trust, lack of respect—I’m trying, really I am, I’m trying not to listen, but I’m hearing everything. She laughs in between her examples. Maybe she’s laughing at him, maybe at herself. I really don’t know, but it’s disconcerting.

The people on my left, who look like friends on their lunch break, finish their meal and now I’m alone in the cafe, one table between me and a domestic dispute.

I take out my earphones and try not to look at their direction as I put the left earbud in, then the right. My thumb hovers over the play button as I hear one last remark.

“You know, honestly, I’m concerned about your mental health.”

I take a quick look at the man. He’s wearing a suit, it looks kind of bulky under the armpits, but I don’t think he’s packing a concealed weapon. My soup bowl is half empty at this point, and I have half an olive roll left.

My thumb presses down slightly, and guitars erupt within my head.

It’s a disaster
It’s an incredible mess
But it’s all we’ve got now
Yeah it’s all we got

I finish the soup by lifting the bowl up to my lips. Fortunately, it’s all broth at this point. The olive roll goes in my mouth as I clean up the table.

I get up and head for the stairwell, stopping to throw away my trash along the way.

Howling with laughter, panic
alarm, and distress
But it’s all we’ve got now
Yeah it’s all we got

I pass a few people on their way up, and I think about how interesting their lunchbreak is about to get.

Of course, that all depends on where they sit.