They came in every week for lunch. Usually on Thursdays. I remember thinking how romantic their relationship seemed. Two married forty-somethings connecting during a busy work day for a quick lunch together. They always drank white wine, ate off each other's plates, and giggled together like newly weds. I never engaged much with them, as they were so smitten with each other I feared any conversation outside of taking their orders would be unfair and disruptive.
There is one particular lunch I remember when the man's phone rang. He looked at the number and his eyes got wide. He showed the number to the woman and her eyes got even wider. She covered her mouth. But they were both smiling with amusement. The man answered the phone and put a huge emphasis on the caller's name.
"Oh, hello 'JOE.'
The two men bantered on for a bit before my customer took the conversation in a different direction.
"Listen- you aren't going to believe who I ran into at lunch." The woman gave him a, "don't you dare" kind of look, but it didn't stop him.
"I'm sitting here with your wife."
The two men laughed about it for a minute before the phone was passed to the woman. I'll never forget the ease with which she managed, "Hi, honey," and went through the story of how she happened to stop in for lunch, saw their mutual close friend, and joined him for a quick bite. Throughout the entire conversation, the 'couple' continued to sip their wine and grab at each other's hands. It was all so easy. I knew this sort of thing happened all the time but their indifference to their adultery, their casualness towards almost getting caught, made me glum. The lunch date lost its sweetness; its romantic aura.
Maybe they sensed my disappointment, or maybe they got caught, but I never saw that couple again. And that made me happy.