And so it begins. The die is cast. The bearing is loosed in the Rube Goldberg machine. It matters not where the bearing lands; what number comes up. It matters only that it has begun.
The couple beside me - so earnest, so young, so tacky, so lost, so happy. Playing grown-up together - she in her push up bra, platform heels, mini skirt, high-pitched giggle. He in his dressy jeans and 'not a T' shirt. They got engaged today, on this her birthday. You can see they want to enjoy the complimentary champagne the waiter has brought them, but ... they give up and ask for Caesars.
The menu is a challenge. She just wants steak, but doesn't see it listed. There's sirloin, and tenderloin, but those are foreign words to her. He will take care of her now, as he has promised to do for always. "Just look for anything 'Angus'," he coaches her. She also doesn't know what chimichurri, aioli, or demi glace are, but at least she's willing to try what the waiter recommends. She's relieved when he tells the waiter "she doesn't like any red in her steak, but don't make it tough." The waiter understands. Is a pro. Smiles without a hint of malice or judgement.
They can't stop checking their Facebook congratulations between bites. Reading to each other who said what. He has more comments for now, but knows she'll have more once she posts a picture of the ring. Her parents have weighed in online. Dad says she's too young. Mom says they already had kids by her age. Dad is right, but it doesn't matter now that the ring is on her finger, now that the status is updated.
I wish them well and take a backlit photo for them. Cynic that I am, still I wish them well. The die is cast.