So, before the date went sour, here's how the evening went.
One of my dear old friends and I had lunch with dear Greg on Saturday. That's when I had an inkling of something amiss. He spotted me before I saw him, so that when I looked up, he was already smiling at me. But his presence was short-lived. His mood suddenly shifted and he had to leave. I promised to be back and see him later.
I spent the afternoon shopping with my friend and her daughter, who was shopping for a New Year's outfit. We had a delightful time, then we headed to Greg's restaurant for some dinner. He intercepted us at the door again, and took us to a table. His mood was obviously improved, but still had an edge of stress. "I'll tell you what happened in a moment," he whispered to me, then took drink orders.
My friend's daughter ordered water without lemon. "She's going to get scurvy," he said to me. While my friend laughed and the daughter learned what scurvy was, he held menus to shield what he said to me.
"Are you free later? I can get out of here in about an hour." I nodded and he was very happy.
When he returned with drinks, he leaned on the table and gave us the story from the afternoon. During his busy afternoon shift, and one he desperately needed, his ex called and decided to unload his young son on him. So, the tips he'd made early in the day now went for additional babysitting expenses. He was working his ass off, and the tips still sucked that night.
"And now I have this huge migraine," he said. I offered pain reliever. "Won't help," he said. "But thanks anyhow." And he was off to other tables.
In the meantime, I dug daytime cold medicine (of the non-sleepy variety) out for my own battle with a sinus headache. As I talked with my friends, I fought with the blister-pack. Damn thing wouldn't open. A moment later, Greg's hand reached in front of me.
"Give it to me," he said. "I'll take it."
"I can't get it open," I said.
He nodded. "It's okay. I'll get it."
"That was sweet," said my friend. Then we chatted and waited for my meds to come back. Greg passed us a couple of times, but no meds. Then, it dawned on me. He said "I'll take it." He thought I was getting out pain reliever for him, anyhow. He took my cold meds.
My friend laughed. "He thought you were taking care of him," she gushed. "How sweet!" I got out more cold meds and managed to open this one myself. He wasn't the wiser, and maybe it helped.
My friend's daughter asked to see his Robot. The table next to us goaded him into his rendition of Riverdance. Then, they stiffed him on a tip. He was pissed.
However, the little pleasure I enjoyed happened each time he leaned on our table to talk. He'd swoop in, elbows on the table, talking rapidly, but making sure his shoulder leaned into mine, his body close.
Soon, we were finished, and we started to leave. I told him quietly that I'd be back, to wait for his shift to be over. He said he should be done soon, then we'd have our time together.
But you know how that ended. The world fell apart for him again, and it was not to be. I just hope to see him one more time before going.
12 hours ago