“He looks at her with these puppy dog eyes. It’s the silliest thing I’ve ever seen. He just looks up at her with a wispy look in his eyes... like she hung the moon... with his big puppy dog eyes. He adores her. When they make sandwiches together they sing. I’ve never heard him sing! In twenty years together I’ve never heard him sing. But they sing together! And they dance! He won’t dance with me. Not since he quit drinkin’. He won’t dance with me, but they sing and dance while they make sandwiches! Like two teenagers in a sandwich shop... and who cares who sees!”
“You’re talking about your husband?” I asked, her 17 year old son standing nearby, smiling. Thhis young man is a story in himself- this kid’s calm, cool, collected, mature far beyond his years.
I have to admit that I was taken aback by her non-chalance. She seemed amused, excited, perhaps a tiny bit offended, not hurt, but amused. Her husband having an emotional affair of the heart right in front of her eyes and she didn’t seem to care. She didn’t seem to mind. They have a family business dealing in fine imported delectables. Their newest and seemingly very profitable venture is in making sandwiches with some of their exotic meats, cheeses, olives and breads. Crafting the perfect hoagie takes time, toasting and melting and this is very much a home grown operation- born of a dream. Her husband is Persian. Dark skinned, black eyes, thick accent, friendly, quiet and...
I can see it. It makes me smile. They make me smile. Her ranting, his amour, their son’s sideline commentary- a quiet smile. The drama unfolds.
“Who is she?” I ask.
“Mrs Soandso. Her husband passed years ago. She has come around for years. One day she was standing behind the counter helping.”
“So she’s an employee?” I quarried.
“He’s paying her, I think. She works a couple or three hours a day. After lunch they clean up. It’s not very formal.”
“...and you’re ok with this?”
“She’s 75! It’s the funniest thing. Ya know, when we were dating, we’d be in a night club and these pretty blondes would come up to him and make eyes at him and buy him drinks, Lord knows he’s too tight to buy them drinks, and there was really nothing I could do because we had just met. The whole time I’ve known him he seems to have a disproportionate number of female friends. Ya know he can’t help himself. He doesn’t mean any harm by it. He just loves women...”
Work is: love made visible.