My roommate’s been out for a few hours; I’m alone in the apartment. It’s one of those days where nothing is happening so when I have to go to the bank I decide to walk the mile or so. The heat seeps under my skin even though I’m on the shady side of the street trying to avoid it.
I stop in the doorway of a Chinese restaurant. The air flowing from inside is cool and sour, and one of the cooks stands nearby sucking down heavy drags from a menthol cigarette.
A woman inside sits alone, her food half-eaten and cold, pushed off to the side, her company long gone. A busboy clears off the dirty dishes from the other places. The bags under the woman’s eyes give her face the appearance of melting. She’s throwing back wine like she’s at a party. When a waiter brings her a fresh glass she swallows the remainders of the one she already has and hands him the empty.
I wonder how many drinks it will take before she notices she’s the only one left at the table. Maybe that’s why she was drinking in the first place.