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Meet Me for Lunch - When?

     You just sit there twiddling your thumbs, trying not to look like you’re waiting for someone. You can always order a cup of coffee or an iced tea, but everyone knows you’re waiting. The waitress stops by every now and then to see if everything’s okay and you tell her your friend will be here any minute now. Probably got stuck in traffic. Or - got the time wrong?  

     One day last month I barged past the hostess into the dining area and scanned the tables. I’d rushed like a sonofagun to get here, but I was twenty minutes late so I was a little relieved that my friend wasn’t here yet. I settled in at a table with a good view of the harbor and ordered an iced tea.

     I studied the catamarans and yachts outside and now and then I glanced ever-so-casually toward the door. Actually, every time someone came in. My fifteenth glance landed on a lady - right age, right color hair, right height. I almost knocked over my iced tea when I jumped up and hollered, “Over h…”  Oops. Wrong lady.

     After my third glass of iced tea, I began to worry. Maybe something had happened to her. I took out my cell phone and called.

     “Are you okay?” I asked. 

     “Fine. Why?” she asked me back.

     “Aren’t you coming?”

     “Coming where?”

     “To the Boathouse. We were meeting for lunch today, remember?”

     “Yeah, but we’re meeting Wednesday. Today’s Tuesday.”

     Guess I wasn’t late after all.  

     Just last week my husband and I agreed to meet for breakfast after his eight o’clock appointment. Figured I’d leave the house at eight-thirty and be at Jena’s a little before him. I left a little early, so as I was driving by the doctor’s office, I decided to stop and put a note on his windshield: “Meet you at Jena’s.” Thought that would be kind’a cute.

     It would’ve been - ’cept his car wasn’t there and it took me five minutes to get out of the parking lot and I had to wait forever for traffic to clear so I could turn left onto Main Street and head on up to Jena’s.

     When I got there he was sitting comfortably in a booth with a disheveled napkin and an empty plate in front of him - a half-empty mug of coffee in his hand. His fifth, he informed me.

     I was only a little late – not a whole breakfast-ful late. “When did you get here?” I asked.

     “The doctor took me in five minutes early and I was out of there shortly after eight. Where’ve you been?”  

     And then yesterday… Connie was going to stop by my new office and then we’d go to lunch at the café next door. She got there early – thirty minutes, by her count, since she thought we were meeting at noon – but “there” was the café, not my office, so while she was waiting in the café, I was in my office, rushing to get things done by twelve-thirty, which was the time I thought we were meeting.

     At twelve-thirty-five I walked over to the café in case she’d gone there first, but I didn’t see her, so I went back to my office to wait. Next thing you know, I got caught up in my work ’cause I love it so much and suddenly it was one-thirty and I was starving and where was Connie? Just then, a shadow passed by my office window. The shadow was Connie.

     She said she’d waited ’til twelve-thirty and then went ahead and ate and she was going home now. I don’t know how I missed her when I looked in the café, but we had a nice chat in my office and we’re going to meet for lunch next Tuesday – or was that Wednesday?

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