The waiter filled my water glass and said something about my lunch coming out soon. I nodded without speaking or looking up from my BlackBerry. The email still hadn't come through. I checked it again.
The summer sun blazed above me, making me wish I'd asked for a seat inside the restaurant. I felt sweat dripping down my neck, soaking the collar of my white dress shirt. I reached up to loosen my tie, but then stopped abruptly and lowered my hand. I didn't need Mr. Swinton giving me a hard time about my wardrobe when I got back to the office.
I checked my email one more time to no avail, and then I shifted my mind from the Marcusson account to thoughts of my turkey club on white, hold the bacon. I'd ordered it every Tuesday for eight months, with the exception of one fateful Tuesday when I chanced to order a pastrami Reuben with Swiss cheese and Russian dressing. The heartburn I got from eating it taught me a lesson I'd never forget.
I gazed out at the fountain across the street, much as I did every Tuesday while I waited for my lunch. Water cascaded from the top of an elegant three-tiered pedestal, filling a concrete basin below. For a moment I was mesmerized by the sight of the water, and I imagined myself hiking up a mountain to the edge of a waterfall, standing beneath bright sunshine and then stripping down to my shorts and diving from the cliff into the cool water below.
And then I saw her. It had been three years or maybe more, but she was unmistakable. She wore a light blue sundress and sandals, her blonde hair reflecting the sun's rays. When I saw that unabashed and unapologetic smile, those teeth that seemed to be the inspiration of the expression "pearly whites", I was transported back in time. We'd met in a bar one evening, I'd had one Tom Collinses too many, and I asked her out. We dated for a few weeks, and we had a lot of fun. But we both knew it wouldn't last. We just weren't a good match.
She kicked off her sandals, and a young guy with purple hair helped her climb onto the basin. He was small and wiry, wearing a T-shirt and a pair of tan cargo shorts, plus black combat boots. I wondered if he was her boyfriend. All at once, she turned and jumped down into the water. She ran around the pedestal, water pouring down on her and saturating her yellow locks. They hung down over her face, her wet sundress clinging to her thin body. She laughed boisterously, the noise drawing the attention of the other diners sitting around me.
Her boyfriend climbed into the fountain and they splashed around for awhile, chasing each other around the pedestal. They performed a cheek-to-cheek slow dance to imaginary music, though their moves were more chaotic than classy. At one point he moved to dip her, and as he did she raised her leg up so that her foot passed his ear. He held her like that for a moment, and it was then that I noticed that he wasn't wearing his shorts anymore.
He spun her around and bent her over, and held her hips as they slammed their bodies together like a couple of rutting dogs. By now most of the patrons had gotten up from their chairs and were straining for a closer look. I picked up my BlackBerry and tried to busy myself with work. But even though I couldn't see what was happening, I could hear it, and let's just say that she'd never made noises like those when she was with me.
"Turkey club on rye with - HOLY SHIT!" The waiter tossed the plate down on the table in front of me and joined the patrons in gawking at the spectacle across the street. She brayed like some sort of barnyard animal experiencing estrus, and as her cries reached a crescendo I noticed a police car pulling up across the street.
Two officers got out and ordered the couple out of the fountain. They climbed down reluctantly, still laughing and touching each other playfully. The officers threw blankets over them to cover their nakedness, and herded them into the back seat of their vehicle. As the car sped off, I shook my head, embarrassed for her. I was glad I'd dumped her. Otherwise that might have been me getting driven downtown for processing.
I took a bite of my sandwich, eager to get back to my cubicle and start working on the Marcusson account. If only that damned email would come through.