zondag 2 juni 2013

A Holiday to Save a Marriage

Sometimes you can feel that people are looking or staring at you. I looked up from my plate and thought that my eyes met hers. Normally people will look down or watch in another direction when you meet their gaze, but this time it did not happen. Then I realised she was not looking at me, but staring at a point somewhere behind me. She was sitting motionless behind her empty plate while the man opposite her seemed to eat on. She was in her forties, blond, quite good looking and bored to death. At least it seemed so by the way she was yawning. He just ate on. Not a word was exchanged between them while I watched this scene.

She got up and walked away towards the food at the buffet and returned a bit later with a selection of the little desserts. These were very nice, just like everything else in this hotel. A while later he did the same and now I could see what kind of a man he was. He walked very upright and had a thick mustache without the drooping sides that can make the face of a man so sad. To me this man in his forties looked like a military. He sat down and the couple continued their wordless meal. I could not help making a remark about it to my wife. It's really sad when you don't have anything to say anymore to your partner.

When they finished they got up, they had to pass our table and the way he walked in our direction I would name manfully. But the way he grabbed her hand I would call desperate. She looked at him in an almost questioning manner but did accept the gesture. My wife saw what happened and came to the conclusion that these people were here to save their marriage. I felt for them: it's so hard to fight for something that you feel slipping your fingers as sand on the beach.

The next day I saw another couple coming to their table and discussing something with the man. The woman was hardly listening, I could see her stare away again. After a while the other couple left the dining room.
On one of the next days the woman was sitting on her own at the dining table. Only when she already was having her dessert her husband and the other couple showed up. The three spoke enthusiastic about something, maybe a trip they made together in the city or such? The woman seemed to listen with only half an ear. She had her chin in her hand and smiled politely. After the story was finished, she greeted and left the dining room so the man had to eat with the other couple.

The next time I saw them, they had an other wordless meal. The other couple showed up again and this time the woman left the dining room before the story of the couple was finished. Maybe she had to go to the toilet? She did not return, I noticed and the man had to finish his meal on his own.

And then I saw them in the lobby. There were very comfortable seats, settees and armchairs.
He was sitting on the settee while reading a newspaper, while she was sitting in an armchair while texting. In between them there were three suitcases, like a barrier that was impossible to breach. The holiday had ended.


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