Two Empty Chairs

This is a window display of an empty space on Warren Street in Downtown Syracuse.


The table is set.  We’re still waiting on the people.

Two red-seated chairs sit empty at the small, round table, which is elegantly decorated.  Fake red and white flowers sit in a vase, and they are doing their just duty as the understudy for the when the real flowers arrive.  They smell vibrantly, but the perfume isn’t overwhelming.  It goes perfectly well, surfing up into the air via heat from the candles.  Two tall, white taper candles–one slightly askew–wait to be lit.  The time is passing and the couple has yet to arrive.  It’s not best to light the candles too early, but they shouldn’t be lit too late; a scenario seems too staged when the tips of the tapers are not sunken a bit.

Coffee spoons are sugar-coated with dust.  The plates are famished without the food, without the chocolate mousse cake to be shared between the expected persons in the couple.  Two mirrors are stationed perfectly where heads would be, one slightly above the other; both persons on the date can occasionally look at each other, but not in vain.  They will see their own smiling faces when confidence begins to subside; seeing themselves smiling will give that extra boost of confidence.

She will ask, What are you smiling at?

He will reply, I am smiling because I saw myself having a great time.  The confident notion cascaded over me, and I just wanted to be sure it was still there.  worry.  It is.

The linen tablecloth, which is decorated with various doily inspired openwork, caresses and tickles their knees.  Hidden hands fidget with nervousness, which often travels up–if not controlled–to a display of the biting of a bottom lip.  Bodies exhale an occasional sigh, which appears more of an exasperated breath–relief.

As the jazz notes float around them, they will continue their conversation.  Whether this is a first date or twenty-first date, whether they are in their mid-twenties or their mid-fifties or even seventies for that matter, whether it’s a night out away from the kids or the night that he proposes–the two are living in the moment, enjoying each other’s company.

The night will come to an end.  They will leave.  The red-covered seats will be vacant again, but only temporarily.  Hand-in-hand, they will exit.  Arm-in-arm, they will walk down the street, and their footsteps will compliment a tune of John Coltrane or Billie Holiday.   In winter, they will huddle–his protecting her from the cold as best as he can.

Troubles will be put on pause.  Arguments, as redundant as they are, will be left as footprints in the lighly snow-covered streets–visible, inevitable and definitely in the past.

It’s time to go home.  It’s time to have a cup of tea.  It’s time to turn in, and read in bed.  The light that emits from our eyes, bursting from and creating a path to our souls, will soon flicker and dim as our eyes’ lampshades fall over and reserve this light for another day.

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