Lunch Date

Brandon Daily

I’m sitting in this deli, waiting for her. We try to meet for lunch every week or so—whenever I can get away from the desk, as infrequent as that is.

Any minute she’ll walk in, flustered from the sidewalk traffic. Her hair will be blown messy from the wind. She’ll sit down and sigh, complain about the “bitches” at work—her word, not mine—and then she’ll get upset I haven’t ordered yet. I play the conversation out in my head:   “Why haven’t you ordered?”

I’ll shrug, say something like “I didn’t know what you wanted.”

“Six years of marriage and you don’t know what I want?” and then she’ll look off to her left—the idiosyncrasy I’ve come to know all too well.

I’m waiting for the word to come up. Divorce. She’ll be the one to say it, not me. I know that much.

I look at my watch again. Then I glance over at the bathroom and remember. I was seventeen then:

It was a small coffee shop. The couple across from me were giggling. And then the woman got up to go to the bathroom. A few minutes later he went. I watched him the whole way, followed him as he opened the same door as she did. They were in there for a while, and I kept imagining what it would feel like to be them. The fear and excitement of locking yourself away, stifling the sounds as best you could, knowing people were going about their lives on the other side of the door.

I look away from the bathroom now and see Megan walk in, her hair tousled. I think of asking her to meet me in the bathroom. I think of us spending our lunch hour in there, wondering the whole while if one stolen moment will save whatever it is we still have left.

Brandon Daily is the author of two novels, ‘A Murder Country’ and ‘The Valley,’ as well as a collection of fiction, ‘Darkening.’ His fiction, nonfiction, plays, and poetry have appeared in numerous journals and magazines. He is a graduate of Lindenwood University’s MFA program.

Art: Chicago Sky by Anthony Afairo Nze who is a graphic design student and Artist from Indianapolis, Indiana. His work consists mainly of graphic art and hand drawn work. For more from Afairo visit Afairosgallery on Instagram 

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