He sat across from me with a grin, suppressing slight uncertainty. Blushing and beaming, somewhat uneasy in the whole novelty of the posh bistro. We clinked our water glasses in salute, as four mature dames sat sipping mimosas at the table beside us.
“I’ll have a Coca Cola, please?”
“Water’s fine for me, thanks.”
I raise my brows to him with exaggerated eyes and an excited smile in acknowledgement of the high class joint. No words necessary. We’re smiling like idiots. He laughs and tucks his Robocop figurine into his lap. Perhaps Robocop felt underdressed for the occasion.
“Do you want my lemon?” he asks courteously, plucking it from the rim of his soda.
“Why yes, thank you” I answer with a nod.
We arrived at the Lyric Opera House with an hour to spare. Well, we do have a Bistro on the third floor, the welcoming woman responded to me as we lingered in the doorway after inquiring about a place to grab a bite. Perfect. Our impeccably postured friend gestured to a sweeping velvet staircase around the bend. Or you could take the elevator.
We enthusiastically tore up the broad spiraling stairs two at a time. A palace draped in gold and crimson, all our own, or so we imagined. As we came upon the entryway of the bistro, a petite pint-sized woman adorned with a jet black pomp and a pink painted pout smiled at us. This is so nice, isn’t it? …that they have this convenient bistro here? Thick, displaced charcoal lines surrounding emerald cat eyes rippled at us with every bat of her lash. She was accompanied by a young girl with a soft spoken smile and auburn hair. It is. I never knew. I hope we have enough time for the show. I fall in love with her instantly, this grandmother of grandeur. Oh we will darling. They know what they’re doing here.
A gentleman approaches us and asks how many in our party. Enjoy the show, and your brunch, I say to her as I give her arm an affectionate graze. Thank you, dear.
As we settle in our seats, I notice his posture is slightly more refined in the new environment.
He holds his shoulders back as he lowers his head towards the table and whispers to me, “Do you think they have cheeseburgers here?”
“Why not? Order yourself a high-class cheeseburger.”
The swanky burger came accompanied by a less than appreciated salad, limited to the house dressing. Although he would have preferred a down home Ranch, he decided to indulge, “I’ll try it…It’s not that bad, mom.”
Forty minutes, one colossal berry bedazzled kids’ sundae, and a cappuccino later we entered the theater. I caught his face just as we stepped through the curtains onto the balcony, soaking in the magnificence of the place. Perfume fragrances, taut suit jackets, suspended rows of sparkling crystal chandeliers, ruby velvet as far at the eye could see. His eyes gleamed and my heart jumped. The lights soon dimmed, signaling an abrupt hush. Silence.
My heart cheered as I watched from the corners of my eyes, his mouth ajar, gaping as he hung on every word and note which rang and echoed from the stage. The glow of the theater lights softly reflected off his entranced face as he sat leaning forward. It melted, my heart that is, right after we consumed our dainty bag of community popcorn, when he leaned slightly and nudged his head onto my shoulder. Just like old times.
The Sound of Music. The stage was alive.
Cheeseburgers and an opera house. A little popcorn and the scent of stale perfume. A Robocop nestled safely in my purse. A head on my shoulder and a light, happy heart. These are definitely a few of my favorite things.