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Laverne H. Bardy

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Watching Real Beauty

Posted: 08/07/2012 7:51 am

I was sitting in a diner, enjoying my solitude and absorbed in thoughts of my father. It was the anniversary of his death and I was missing him.

From the corner of my eye I noticed a magnificent looking couple in a nearby booth. The woman was incredibly beautiful with large, dark, seductive eyes; thick black hair pulled sleekly into a French knot; and an airbrushed complexion. Her movements were fluid. She was poised and composed and appeared to be detached from her surroundings. I watched as she sipped her coffee and I realized that hers were the looks I had always wanted.

The man was gorgeous. I stared shamelessly and smiled as I allowed my fantasies to ramble. His skin was tanned. He had rugged features with a strong cleft chin and clear blue eyes. The cut of his expensive three piece suit accentuated his broad chest and shoulders.

He was reading a newspaper. She was drinking coffee. They never spoke.

I heard myself sigh and tried to pull my thoughts back to where they had been before they'd been so pleasantly invaded. It was difficult. I was drawn to the two of them and their robot-like movements -- turning his pages, lifting her cup. No speaking. No smiling. No communicating.

My thoughts were further interrupted when the hostess escorted another couple to a booth diagonally in front of mine. They appeared to be frequent patrons of the diner because they joked familiarly with the waitress, who asked if they wanted their "usual."

The man was in his mid-sixties. His hair was steel grey and he wore baggy shorts that slung low on his hips, inviting his belly to hang over. He wore a horizontally striped polo shirt and a red billed cap. Black dress shoes and short black socks accentuated his thin, white, bowed legs.

The woman, about 55, had short frizzy brown hair with long grey roots. She wore plaid Bermuda shorts, a sleeveless polka dot over-blouse, white sandals with white anklets, and carried a small white patent leather handbag. She had no forearms. Finger-like appendages hung from her elbows.

I tried to ignore her deformity but found myself sneaking peeks at her reflection in the window alongside me. Distance made their conversation inaudible to me, but their perpetual dialogue, laughter and playful animation revealed the warmth and depth of their feelings for each other.

I stalled by reordering cups of tea. I was intrigued by the contrast in the appearance and behavior of the two couples.

The beautiful people slid across their booth seats, stood and prepared to leave. I observed that the woman was tall and willowy. The man appeared to be about 6'5" and, in my humble opinion, was a perfect specimen of manhood. The woman walked in front of the man, past the cashier and out the door. He paid the check and followed. They never spoke or so much as acknowledged each other's presence. They were perfectly sculpted pieces of cold marble.

I was on my third cup of tea by now and feeling uncomfortable about lingering any longer when the second couple stood and prepared to leave. When he reached the woman's side of the table, the man leaned over and whispered something into her ear, causing her to visibly blush and giggle. They embraced. I hid behind my menu and cried.

They were walking towards the cashier when the man suddenly turned and came back to his booth. He reached across the seat on which he'd been sitting and came up with his red cap.

My eyes were still moist as I managed a smile and said, "Good thing you remembered it now, instead of after you were on the road."

He grinned broadly and walked over to me. "See this here pin?" he asked with great pride as he pointed to a small brass heart stuck in his cap. "My wife gave it to me over 40 years ago and I'm never without it."

I smiled approvingly and he returned to the cashier where he paid his check and walked out with his arm over his woman's shoulders.

As my eyes followed them to the parking lot, memories of my father trickled back into my mind and I was struck with thoughts of something he had told me when I was a youngster working beside him in his roadside fruit and vegetable stand. "The sweetest fruits are often the ones with blemishes and imperfections."

I was warmed by thoughts of my father's words and realized that while the beautiful people had caught my eye, it was the second couple who captured my heart.

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