Empty Chair

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Empty Chair

Gently placing the bowl down in front of him, the old man wiped his mouth and leaned back. Chair creaking slightly underneath as he fished into his pocket for his wallet. Waiting for the hostess to come over to retrieve his empty dishes, he sipped his drink and stared across the table.

An empty chair faced him. A few years ago a smiling face would have greeted his own, a light touch on the wrist and whispered words against his ears and on his lips. The babble of the coffee shop, spoken in a language not originally his own, didn't register as his thoughts slipped away in time. Streaming memories like a movie before his eyes. The thoughts and feelings of years past muffling his senses.

Lost at sea, the waves of memory beat his heart. How long had it been? How many times had he sat at a table for two only to be reminded that what once was was through? If he still engaged in drinking he might find a bar stool; while lonely, it didn't bear the reminders across the table, preferring the spiralled thoughts of drunken recollections instead.

Jarred from his revery by the hostess taking his dish away, he nodded and thanked her as she took his card away to pay for the meal. Bracing against the table and standing slowly. The cracks of his back loud but the young audience at the bar too polite to say anything. He scooped his beige jacket off the chair and fixed his ancient ball cap onto his head. After accepting his change and leaving a tip, he pulled the visor down and stepped out into the world.

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