Tamara and I weaved through the parking lot headed for lunch. We couldn’t go far because the glass company had just put a new windshield in my car, and the black tape didn’t, in fact, look like racing stripes. However, I think Tamara believed me when I told her it did, because she agreed to drive so I could pretend it wasn’t my car. We were supposed to be running errands, but I was struck by a brilliant idea.
“Let’s go to that new Mexican restaurant.” I said, as I hunched further down in my seat praying no one could see me. Never mind that everyone knows my car because of the big sticker with my daughter’s name on it. I was still hiding.
I’d like to go on record as saying Tamara readily agreed. If she doesn’t want to do something she just says it, but she jumped on this idea, so I refuse to take the blame alone. It’s always an adventure when we go places together so I really didn’t think anything about the fact that it took nine minutes to park. Tamara couldn’t get the car between the two yellow lines, but this is nothing new. I just kept wondering if the people in Payless Shoe Store were all gathered at the window watching her struggle to get more than two inches space between my car and the Suburban next to it.
I tried to duck around the other side of the oversized SUV, but I heard Tamara say, “What are you doing.” I just laughed and sprinted for the door.
Now we should have known right away there was something off about the place. No other females were in the building. All the waiters were male, and otherwise there was a table full of burly construction workers and a couple of old men in the corner. Of course we both picked this day to wear summer dresses cut above the knee, and as we walked across the floor all eyes followed us to the table.
Tamara stopped in her tracks and glared at the table. I snorted knowing she had no intentions in keeping her mouth shut. The benches were hard wood and straight back, with slats on the bottom which were so far apart a small child might fall through them. Her mouth fell open. “Do they expect us to sit there?”
Tamara chuckled under her breath and ordered our drinks. “Did you see the way he looked at you? I think he wants to eat you.”
Involuntarily, my body convulsed into a full body shiver as I glanced over at the table of construction workers. They were all still, eyes wide, staring at our table. Honestly, I felt like I’d drifted onto another planet where women were alien. Tamara picks this time to lean across the table and say, “You know, I feel lucky that we haven’t been shuffled off to the human trafficking warehouse in the back.”
“They won’t stop staring,” I say, as I send the table of goons the stink eye. None of them react. Maybe we are visiting another universe.
“Let’s just eat and get out.” Tamara slurped her Dr. Pepper while remaining focused on my face.
This is the exact moment when the waiter comes back with our food and leans in once again. His hair scrapes my cheek, and I make a noise similar to a whale giving birth…or so I imagine. Tamara opens her mouth, and I can see the words before they leave her lips. “Why don’t you just lick her?”
Mortified, I slide down, until I’m sure only the two old men in the corner can see my face turn blood-red. The waiter smiles and slithers away. I can’t think of anything to say so I shovel a bite of food in my mouth expecting to be saved by wonderful Mexican cuisine. But, no. The cosmos are not lined up for this cloud to have a silver lining. I chewed carefully, as if the speed at which my mouth moved had some effect on the horrible taste pooling in my mouth.
Surely, I was overreacting, still freaked out about the run in with Senior Pervert. Nope, that’s not the case, because as my eyes trail from my plate back to Tamara, she’s trying to look sophisticated while spitting her food in a napkin. “Oh my God, are you kidding me?” She didn’t scream, but it was close enough.
“Let’s just get the check and get out of here before I die.” I offer as I dig for my wallet.
“I don’t want to pay for this.” She complains while staring at her plate, which is still full.
In a gust of wind, the waiter comes back and looks down at our plates. He doesn’t ask if it was okay, or if there is something wrong, he simply whisks our dishes away and plops down the bill. I know at this point I’m walking a fine line with Tamara. There exists, in her psyche, a tiny line which once crossed, will send her into a raving fit. She has that crazy corner smile. It’s getting close.
I whip out my card and push it to the end of the table and in swoops the man to rush it off. In seconds, he’s back and we are scurrying for the door. As we pass the cashier, he leans over and says something like, “MMMM, later ladies.”
Tamara casts a wicked eye back at him, and I grab her arm and push her out the door. In the parking lot, she was almost laughing, but still obviously irritated. “We shouldn’t have paid!!”
“Get to the car. Hurry before we have to go back.”
By now, tears are running down her face as she shoves the key in the ignition and looks up at the tape still on my window. “You should have let him lick you…then we wouldn’t have paid.”