He is sitting on his high bar stool, supping. Reading his newspaper that he has folded in half, drinking his half pint of beer. He looks the most self-assured man in the world, because he doesn’t need anyone, or anything. And he’s just about arrogant enough to believe it.
Years ago, he made a choice when she left, he chose to not rely on anyone. He decided he would be fine with it. And he was. He came here on the weekends at three, he drank two half pints and read half of his newspaper, all the way through.
It was something, it was a routine.
She sits in the restaurant booth alone. The place doesn’t serve booze so she brings her own. Just a glass of red wine. She opens a bottle on a Monday night and drinks a small glass most nights. On Sunday she brings the rest of the bottle to the roast chicken restaurant. She has her Sunday roast with her wine leftovers. It’s easier somehow to take an almost finished bottle and finish it than it is to take an almost full one back. She didn’t know why.
As she eats, she reads the newspaper magazine that she brought with her. She enjoys little of it, but long ago decided it was traditional. So it goes on.
She enjoys not enjoying it. She knows she has to read it, because of tradition, so she can get cross with it. For everything else she has decided to be self-possessed, and if it makes her cross, she has extracted it from her life. She enjoys having something to get cross with. The rest of her life is just too average.
He half finishes the paper, picks up his half pint and takes the glass back to the bar. Calling out his thankyous he walks out of the pub.
She pays, finding exact change in her purse for the twelve and a half percent tip. She gets up and walks out of the restaurant.