Less than a minute after they sat down at their outdoor table, she had already picked out their lunches and was waving the waiter over. A dark shape passed briefly across the waiter’s face as he saw her and then it returned to its natural sun-soaked server expression. He motioned with his index finger, the universal signal for “be there in a minute.” Of course he wasn’t — the island’s pace didn’t allow it.
The others settled into their seats. Hallie was talking about the giant seashells and the pink plastic porpoise at the water slide, while Jake focused on connecting the dots on the picture on the kid’s menu, and then went on to work the anagram puzzle.
“So all I want is our money back, I’m not gonna get greedy. Stupid to be greedy in this market.” She was talking about moving again. “There was this place I saw in Auburndale, I tell you?” She didn’t wait for his reply. “I went in with the realtor and I was really good I said, boom, we could move that, break down that wall, this is good, that sucks, boom, boom, boom I was done in like 3 minutes and the realtor was so impressed, like, how did you do that? I’m really good at this.”
He was looking at his menu. She was good at ordering and he’d found over the years that she would always find exactly the thing that he would have found if he ever had the opportunity to slowly study the menu. But she could never guess what he wanted to drink. Being a WASP, he was particular about his alcohol. There was always a right drink for a particular time and mood. Right now he wanted a mai-tai. He knew that but he pretended to be deciding. He pretended to be listening to her, too. Every couple of seconds, though, when he thought she wasn’t looking at him, he was looking elsewhere.
“Ohh, how cute is that baby?!” A couple had just walked near their table, the father proudly wearing the baby on his chest in one of those Swedish new-age papoose things. He lit up when her heard her — and it was impossible not to hear her, with that voice — and they began that new-parent chit-chat that he found so deadly.
Across the room, Kay and Daniel were eating lunch. Kay was observing them intently, splitting her attention with her son, and each time her eyes met David’s she smiled a big, naughty smile. David could not stop watching her eat but he could not afford to smile, except with his eyes. He followed the pizza as it rose up from her plate, as it crossed her lips, as she chewed. She took big, dripping bites, her mouth and tongue working each bite with a lustiness that surprised him. Her figure did not belie any such lust. A bit of cheese dropped from her mouth and stuck to her chin, and instead of wiping it off immediately, she continued eating, then casually, slowly, pulled a napkin out of the holder and wiped it off. Occasionally she took a bite and lingered on it, lingered on it in such a way that it would have been obvious to anyone who might have been watching that she was doing far more than eating pizza.
His insides were churning up into his chest. He felt that this was all he needed from her, ever, to be seated six tables away from her, at the same restaurant in the same town of the same country, just to feel her presence, to watch her movements, the blink of her eyelids, the way she kept settling herself on her seat, scrunching around. He thought of all the times they’d made love, touching only with their words, first on the blog, then with Yahoo Messenger, then the webcam and the phone. Each one was a different kind of intimacy but they all involved words — taking the yearning of their bodies and trying to type, shuddering and shaking trying to focus to say the thing they wanted, how they wanted to touch, how they wanted to be touched and it would almost become real. But this beat all of that. This was the real woman, the real Kay, and she was only six tables away. She might as well have had her tongue down his throat and her legs wrapped around him, was how he felt right then. It could not be any better than this.