She walked in with no shoes which prompted an elderly gentleman at a neighbouring table to state questioningly, “Most women would be lost without a hundred pairs.”
“It’s natural this way,” she replied as she held a whiskey in one hand and a 21-chemical cigarette in the other.
“You don’t remember me?” he asked with the minimised bruised ego one would expect from a man over sixty-five. And when she never responded, he added, “We had a good conversation about a year ago…and I said that my wife would love to meet your spirit…she’s here – can I introduce you?”
“Sorry,” she said. “I’m rushing. Just having a drink while my daughter changes and then I’ve gotta rush out of here.”
He never pointed out that her 5-year old daughter had just left for the toilet or that his wife was only, clearly, 5 metres away but said, “You keep well,” after an awkward shuffling of his feet that stood for too long on one spot before finding the dignity to walk away.
The only other person in the bar was enjoying a meal that was big enough for three but not big enough to distract him from the encounter and brush-off. He’d recognised her too and, as she chose her table, they’d appropriately nodded and smiled at one another without speech the way people so often do when they do not wish harm upon someone they don’t want to know beyond that polite nod.
But the observation amused him so he broke social protocol and jested: “Toes shrink in Winter… without shoes, you might fall over.”
“You’re quick, “ she said to which he was smart enough not to follow with, “You must be thick-footed.”