They were more than a fleeting distraction. I was captivated. My curiosity worked overtime trying to figure out how to inconspicuously watch the couple two tables away while my husband and I dined with friends at a restaurant’s rooftop patio on gorgeous April evening.
First let me tell you about “he.” Since “he” was facing my direction I got a better look at him. I’d say he was 40-something. He sparkled and shined– from his tanned shaved head to his snazzy cuff-links. His platinum tan suit and calm grin declared he was a prepared man. He planned this night! Ok. I confess. I checked out his left hand and yes, there was a wedding ring. I wondered what they were celebrating.
In between my appetizer bites of bread and hummus I noticed he gave her a gift – a small figurine of a young lady holding tiny birds perched on her outstretched arms. It looked like something you would find in a Hallmark store. I couldn’t see her face, but he just beamed while tapping his polished shoes. I wondered if the gift symbolized something special.
Soon their dinner came and with unashamed humility he bowed to pray. What a man! It wasn’t a quick-mumbling- restaurant prayer. Seriously. I think he prayed for at least two or three minutes as he leaned toward his light brown, wavy hair companion.
I can’t read lips but everything about this man’s demeanor said, “I’m all here to celebrate you.” His gift of presence was compelling. He talked with ease and energy. He listened to her with eager respect. They delighted in sharing a dark chocolate dessert. I really didn’t count, but I think the ratio was his two bites for every one of hers. I wondered about this blessed woman he was with. I couldn’t see her face, but her pale chiffon dress flowed over her slender, angular body with modest simplicity. Her slipper shoes and one small nylon ripple charmed me. She embodied unselfconscious natural beauty.
I should tell you that my dinner friend Deanna also noticed the table drama while our husbands were relatively clueless. After he and she ate dessert he asked the waiter to take their photo. They stood up next to the rooftop ledge with a stunning blue-sky backdrop. Click. Click. It was our first glimpse at the face of his dinner companion. And with a jolt of surprise we both instinctively covered our mouths. His lovely lady wasn’t his wife; she had to be–his daughter!
I confess– I feel slightly caught telling you about my “overworking radar” at a meal I was supposed to be sharing with friends. Though I don’t know the details inside this table story, it wasn’t a façade but rather a feast of loving connection between a father and daughter. This world is ravaged with broken, alienated relationships. But when beauty captures our attention it’s worth listening to the story being told.