finding a place for dinner
the team had lost
the bottle had emptied
and the books weren’t doing it for us.
so we went for a walk
and watched the sickness of people
taking down halloween decorations
and putting up their lights
for christmas in early november
lamenting the days where they
used to hang nothing for a few weeks
missing the breather in between
“we should find a place,” my wife said.
“i guess we should.”
“there’ll be eight of us. my parents.
your parents. my sister and her husband.”
“that is eight,” i said.
“we need to find a broad menu.”
we kept walking.
this was our cross
my wife and i who didn’t bother anybody
who didn’t call unless we were asked
who never sent christmas cards
or had dinner parties
or asked to visit
or had everyone over for thanksgiving dinner
we were always stuck with finding a restaurant
for people to dine in
the last supper for christ’s sake
this was our cross
even though we hated eating in large groups.
“what about this italian restaurant,” she said. “wait, you’re
father hates italian.”
“he’ll get over it. what about here?” i pointed
to a place dressed in neon.
“that’s a bar. you always find the bars.
no one will want to eat in a bar except
“yes, i forgot.
we come from such privileged stock,” i said.
we kept moving, looking into
restaurants where people were dining and talking
about what people talked about.
football games were on large televisions
to drown out the verbal monotony
of the well-fed masses.
none of the places looked good to us.
maybe it was the people inside.
i wished i saw the restaurants empty
then maybe i’d find something appealing about them.
“it’s all of these damned people,” i said.
“i wish we could do foreign food,” my wife said.
“but now you’re eliminating everyone,” i said.
“my sister and her husband like foreign food.”
“of course they do.”
we moved on
only to end up back where we began.
the night had a chill
our bellies rumbled with hunger
of food and more drink
and the moon was blurred by the night sky.
i thought about how i had
to work six days straight starting tomorrow
and how i couldn’t care less
about a dinner that was a month away.
“look, why don’t we just find a place
no matter the food, and call it a day,” i said.
“and fuck this whole thing.”
“but i don’t want people to be disappointed,”
my wife said.
“you can’t stop the inevitable.”
“do you think?”
we stopped in front of that same italian joint.
inside people were talking and laughing
just like all of the other places.
in one room was a large table full of people
eating and throwing down wine.
there were eight people at the table
and my stomach dropped.
“this looks like the place for sure,” i said.
“but your father?”
“never mind him,” i said.
“fine. i’ll go and grab a menu,” my wife said.
“and then after we’ll go and get another bottle
“good,” i said, staring into the night
as green and red and white, and orange lights
all melted into one ugly color
as someone told a joke inside the italian restaurant
one that i didn’t hear
but that made the whole table of eight
burst out into uncontrollable laughter
the sound of their cackling making me
want to jump off the bridge in the distance
dressed for the night
in lights of beautiful blue and gold.