We are invisible observers at a comfortable local restaurant. Two couples occupy tables at opposite ends of the room. They can see but they cannot hear each other.
Both are dawdling over coffee and dessert. The pair at the front of the restaurant is young. The boy nineteen. The girl a smidge younger. His name is Jason. Hers is Aileen. They are attractive kids. He is long and lanky with the look of a varsity basketball player. She is petite and elfin with a smattering of freckles. They are gazing into each other’s eyes over the debris of crockery and utensils.
And that is how we temporarily leave them: Aileen unconsciously stirring the already well-stirred coffee in her mug. Jason nervously cracking his knuckles between his knees.
At a table near the kitchen sit Larry and Julia.
Larry is sixty-three years old. He has a nice head of silver gray hair, a ruddy face, and intelligent eyes. His chair is tilted back casually against the wall. Julia, opposite, has a pretty face surrounded by curly brown hair. She is fifty-six years old, slim, and does not try to hide the laugh lines at the edges of her mouth, which is mobile and expressive. When she talks, her eyes keep returning to Larry’s, as though her thoughts were birds and his face a familiar and friendly place to roost.