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Monday, July 25, 2011

Awkward

I overheard a conversation today in Chick-Fil-A that I'm quite certain I wasn't meant to overhear. I couldn't really help it. I tried not to listen in, though I'll admit to being very curious.

It started when this man and woman sat at the table behind me. I don't know why they sat there, since it was 11:30am and Chick-Fil-A wasn't busy yet. Maybe they didn't care if the woman with her baby overheard. So I sat feeding my baby in her highchair (which was so close to the couple that if the woman backed her chair up, she would bump the highchair) while my boys played in the play area. I have no idea who these people are. I'd never seen them before, and haven't since.

At first I didn't really pay any attention to them. My little one keeps me entertained, plus I was monitoring the boys. And then words--snippets of conversation--began to reach my ears. Such as:

"But whatever it is you see in him, it won't last. You'll just keep hiding from your problems until you've gone from man to man, always seeking what you can't find."

Her response: "It's not like that. I'm happy with him."

At this point I paid a little more attention to the male speaker. Who was he? Her son? Her brother? Her friend? Her ex? I noticed how low he kept his voice, and how it shook as if he were on the verge of an emotional break-down-- or tears.

And he said, "You keep trying to define yourself with a new man. You were happy with me. I don't know what went wrong. Everything started out so great. What happened?"

No response.

So he keeps going. "You're making a mistake. You have to stop jumping into things without thinking. You don't even care about him. You just like the newness."

She said, "No, that's not it."

I had to go settle a fight in the play area (that's another post), and when I returned they were still talking. But the tone was different. Now his voice was thick, trembling, heavy. He said, "Everyone warned me you would do this. They told me you're like this, they said don't trust her. But I didn't care. I didn't believe them." I could hear the anger. Bitterness.

She didn't grace him with a reply. I got up to grab the kids' balloons, and snuck a surreptitious glance at the speakers. Young adults, in the their early twenties. Both of them very attractive people. He was wide-eyed, hands splayed on the table. But she was slouched slightly in the chair, shoulders turned so she didn't face him head on. Her lips were pressed together, her face closed, eyes hooded.

Conversation over. Poor guy.

I got up to change the baby's diaper, wondering about them while I did so. I imagined him calling her, begging her to meet him at Chick-Fil-A (Chick-Fil-A??). Just to talk. Just one last time, and then he'd leave her alone. And I imagined him going over his arguments, hopeful, desperate to get her back. And her--sighing, rolling her eyes, agreeing this one last time. She's tired of the guilt trips, tired of the explaining, tired of him. She's not going back.

All in all, a very very interesting experience.

9 comments:

PurpleMist. said...

Woah, just reading that made me want to find out their story.
Seems like you witnessed quite a scene there :P

Kelley said...

I would have totally listened in too. Except I'm usually not very good about making it subtle... they probably would have noticed.

Angie said...

That's awesome. I love overhearing those type of conversations. (Is that bad of me?)

Maria Hoagland said...

That's what makes for great novels--eavesdropping, spying, whatever it takes. And guess what, I took my three kiddos to C-F-A for lunch today too (OK, one drove there after work and met me there. Ugh, I'm old). But I didn't overhear anything that good :)

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

I love CFA! Though overhearing things like that make me feel so bad for the other person...

Jeremy Bates said...

hey tamara! thanks for following me over! how have things at wido been? im new there, so just meeting people and getting a feel for it
hope the writing is coming along for ur sequel! looking forward to hearing more about it (any idea on a release date??)

Tamara Hart Heiner said...

no dates yet, Jeremy! I'm hoping January of 2012! Feel free to shoot me an email and we'll talk more.

Mary Aalgaard said...

Wow. That's better than a tv show. I have been privvy to conversations, too. People talk freely in public, especially when there's coffee involved.

Elle Strauss said...

Yikes. I suppose there's some good material for a future book, but poor guy!

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