Evelyn worked at the nursing home and you could tell by looking at her she liked to eat. So I guess it shouldn’t have come as a surprise when she said yes to my offer to take her to the steakhouse. I helped lift her into the cab, and we drove to the steakhouse, and I wasn’t more than halfway through my beer as she wolfed down a plate of chicken wings. She attacked a plate of ribs and had sauce on her face that made her look like a clown. She told me her mother watched soap operas, and it got so bad she thought the characters were real.
Her mother had a poodle which she lavished excessive attention on while not seeming (she excused herself to belch. ) to feel the same way about her daughter. I thought about a way to suggest to her to take a napkin and wipe the sauce off her face, but couldn’t think of how to do it, so I let it ride. A guy at another table gave me a nod as if to say, “Hey, dude, you got yourself quite the lovely.” I didn’t give a shit really. He didn’t know the story. I saw her daiquiri was empty, and the waitress came over, and asked her if she wanted another, which of course she did, and the waitress suggested bringing some more napkins, and still she didn’t get the hint. I smiled, it was funny, really. I was putting a piece of steak in my mouth, and I swear I heard her, and when I looked at her, she was innocent like nothing happened. I waited to smell something, and I did. I waved my hand in front of my face. I couldn’t bring myself to take another bite. A twenty dollar steak lying there in front of me: a virgin. She said she had to go to the ladies room, and from the smell, I didn’t think otherwise. She pried herself out between the bench and the table and the non-sauce part of her face was red with exertion. As she waddled off, the wise ass guy from the other table gave me a smirk again and I thought, Fuck you.
I apologized to the waitress when she brought Evelyn’s daiquiri for ordering another drink piggy-back, and she left napkins on the table. I was taking the second sip from the whisky, when I saw Evelyn waddling toward me, the sauce still on her face. The table got jammed into my gut when she pried herself in between the table and bench. She started her second assault on the ribs, and I guessed she must have missed the mirror in the ladies’ room. She talked, between chewing on ribs, about her job in the nursing home how inspired she is by the dignity with which some people suffer and die. She talked about a client who was in pain who never raised his voice or spoke harshly to her even though he was suffering. It was painful for me to listen to her talk, and I took a big gulp of whisky to control my feelings. The waitress asked how everything was, and Evelyn ordered a chocolate sundae. I must say I was taken back by her eating habits; whenever I saw her at the nursing home she was always appropriate and reserved.
“What’s your problem?” I said to the jerk at the next table who made faces at Evelyn’s bad behavior. I didn’t hear whatever he said, but I landed the first punch, and the next I knew I was on the floor, and I could hear screaming.
I woke up in a jail cell with two other guys and the smell of urine. I kept myself from vomiting. The picture of Evelyn with sauce on her face came to me as I picked up the pieces of my shattered dinner. I felt bad. Evelyn was always Dad’s favorite.
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