Wednesday, September 23, 2015


This morning, a man and his wife sat down three tables away from me at P. Terry's. The tables are small and close, so they were about eight feet away from me.

I didn't really notice them at first.

There's a hospital across the street, and many people will pass through P. Terry's as they visit someone in the hospital. I assumed that's what this couple was doing. I know all the regulars, because I have breakfast at PT every day.

I briefly looked at them before I resumed reading. They looked to be in their sixties, probably early sixties. The man was clean-shaven, and had on a gray knit shirt and slacks. The woman had dark hair, not quite to her shoulders, and she was wearing a simple dress.

They were Japanese.

I turned back to reading, Nothing to see here.

After a few minutes, I started hearing something. Their conversation. The man was speaking Japanese in a low, soft voice, and it was beautifully melodic. Occasionally, his wife spoke, and it was in the same soft, beautiful tone.

I didn't feel like I was eavesdropping, because I didn't understand what they were saying. So I just listened.

There were other people, and the music loop in the background, and the ice machine, and I heard nothing but their voices.

I did that for fifteen minutes, maybe longer, reaching a very still place inside me, and then they stood up. When the man began to walk, I was shocked, because he was clearly much older than I thought, his gait stiff and pained.

The man I thought was in his early sixties was a decade older, at least.

His wife looked at me as she walked back from putting away their trash. I nodded, and she gave me a flicker of a smile.

I stayed a few minutes longer, then got up to leave.

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