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Uncle Rob and Ryan have another go at each other and Kate.
I glanced at my watch. It was 7:10. Jeanne told me he was coming over at 6:30. It was an hour earlier at home. If he was punctual it would be another twenty minutes before he arrived.
The waitress returned with my beer and a basket of wrapped crackers and bread sticks. After setting the basket of crackers in the middle of the table she poured half of my bottle of beer into a glass, set it and the half empty bottle in front of me and asked if I was ready to order. I was. I ordered a tossed salad, a small sirloin and a baked potato.
As the waitress was leaving I noticed the hostess leading a middle aged woman to the next table along the window from mine. Trying to be discreet I took a sip of my beer and pretended to stare out the window while I surreptitiously watched the woman out of the corner of my eye.
Maybe a year or two older than Jeanne and me, she had shoulder length dark hair, an enchanting smile and beautiful blue eyes. While she wasn't heavy, she was a full figured woman with an ample bust, a thick waist, generous hips and gorgeous rear end. I found her very attractive. At least momentarily, she made me forget about Jeanne and her new friend.
She sat down in the chair on the opposite side of her table from where I was seated at my table. While we were at separate tables it created the feeling that we were dining together.
I continued watching her. The same waitress who was taking care of me arrived at her table. The woman ordered a vodka martini. The waitress left.
The woman leaned over and set her purse on the floor between her chair and the wall under the window. When she sat up again, she glanced at me. For a brief moment our eyes met, but she looked away immediately. Still trying to be discreet I watched. Suddenly her expression changed. She smiled, turned her gaze directly to me and said. "This is awkward, isn't it."
Chuckling, I said, "Yes it is. We're dining alone, but in a way we're dining together."
"I'm generally not this forward, but as you just pointed out, in a way we've already been seated together. Would you like to make it official and join me at my table? Dining alone is so unsatisfying."
"Yes, I'd like that very much." I picked up my glass of beer and the bottle next to it. As I walked over to her table I said, "My name is Michael Nolan."
She smiled and said,"Michael Nolan, I'm pleased to meet you. My name is Maureen Styles."
As I sat down, I said, "It's a pleasure to meet you too Maureen. Thank you for inviting me to join you. I agree, dining alone is unsatisfying."
"So Michael, why are you dining alone? I would think a handsome man like you would be happily married and out with his wife tonight."
"I am married."
"Where's your wife?"
"At home in Minnesota."
"Do you live in the Twin Cities?"
"Yes, St. Paul."
"Are you traveling for business."
"No, I'm just traveling."
"Without your wife."
"Yes." Quickly deciding that there wasn't any good reason to guarded with this woman I said, "Over the past several months our marriage has been stressed. We're working things out, but we're currently separated. It's an informal separation, but we are deliberately living apart."
And that's why your traveling."
"My husband and I are having problems too. While we're not physically separated, we're certainly emotionally separated."
"Would you like to talk about it?"
"Actually, I would. Would you mind?"
"Not at all."
The waitress arrived with Maureen's martini. After she set it down Maureen ordered her dinner, a tossed salad, grilled salmon and a baked potato. When she was finished ordering I asked, "Since we're dining together could you bring our food at the same time?"
The waitress nodded. "Certainly sir, I'll tell the chef."
After the waitress was gone Maureen took a sip of her martini and said, "Eric and I have been married for twenty-nine years."
"Jeanne and I have been married for twenty-seven years."
"Last October Eric announced that he had a mistress.