18 September 2012


My friend and I ate at a restaurant featuring a buffet a while ago.  I noticed this lady moving chairs at a set of tables.  An elder man was sitting in the chair at the end of the table. A bit later a couple more people sat down.  Lastly, two more sat. Then, the waitress moved a wheelchair out of the aisle.

I didn't think much more about it until the lady came back with a plate for the man. His demeanor was quiet, not wanting to call attention to himself.  His head hung down, his hands were in his lap and he slouched. A cursory glance at the rest of his family showed them settling in for their meal.

I happened to look at that table later and there was a change in the man.  His face was lit up, he was smiling, he sat straighter.  It was like a light had come on.

I stared far longer than needed. I was that amazed at the change in this elder.  The rest of the diners at his table were looking at him.  I shook my head, then paid attention to my own table companion.  I told her of my observation.  I was still amazed.

A few minutes later, I glanced at the table. The man was back to the original demeanor, a bit more tired.  The lady across from him was getting his food. I know, because I looked for her.  This intrigued me.  I began to wonder what was happening to cause this change. It wasn't an isolated incident.  Our meal lasted about 45 minutes.  In that time, the man's face changed three times.  I watched him eat, normal.  He didn't put himself forward though.

My companion and I left the restaurant before I could observe their leave taking.  There were other details: one of the females, the youngest, had her meals served to her also, as did one other woman at the table.  I noticed their physical characteristics, the limits of their physical boundaries.

My companion was too polite to ask me if I was planning a scene around this incident; she had that puzzled look which meant she was thinking.  I hadn't thought of it at the time. In my reading over what I wrote, there did happen to be a scene with some of the elements of my observations.  I hadn't realized how deep an impression it made.

Thinking about this has made me realize that I could plot at least three different story lines. Hey, I think a light bulb has just clicked on, 45 years late. I look for writing prompts on the net, when I have a great deal of my own already.


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