A record and a rose

A man sat at the table next to me in the cafe and told the waiter he was expecting someone to join him. I was reading, so all I saw of him was his right dress shoe and pant leg, and, from the corner of my eye, his upright and watchful posture. A vague waft of his cologne. An imagined crisp white shirt.

I don’t know how long he sat there, watching, anticipating. 

Eventually, he ordered himself a coffee and a sandwich.

‘My friend isn’t coming anymore,’ he told the waiter. 

When the coffee and the sandwich came, he ate and drank slowly. His posture remained upright. As soon as he’d finished, he paid and left.

‘He had a present,’ the waiter told me. ‘A record and a rose.’

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