He looked into Catherine’s blue eyes. In the dark room, the reflection of the candles that danced in them should have shown romance but instead it betrayed the anger of her turbulent emotions. Anticipating the impending paroxysm of rage, he sat quietly. When the skirmish came, it was a doozy.
Catherine knew all of Daniel’s time was not in her jurisdiction, yet it exasperated her to think that at times he chose Cindy’s company over hers. As she spoke, her normally soft voice squeaked at points of emotion.
“You arbitrarily decided to break our date last night,” she sobbed.
People at nearby tables turned to watch the fray, perhaps secretly choosing sides based on their gender.
Marginally aware of the attention of others, Catherine attempted to lower her voice.
“You said you were too tired to go out with me,” she hissed.
“I was tired,” Daniel whispered in defense. “I’ve been trying to push ideas through that monolithic organization where I work, and my boss has been harassing me of late. I’d like to burn him in effigy—if not in real life,” he said, as now his voice cracked with emotion. Then his voice returned to a whisper, “Anyway, I was exhausted.”
“Exhausted?” she nearly shouted at him.
“Yes, exhausted,” he loudly whispered back.
The skirmish was entertaining everyone in the restaurant except the two people involved. Besides the eavesdropping customers, waiters went out of their way to go past Daniel and Catherine’s table when taking orders to the kitchen and when taking food to other tables.
“You are lying,” she screamed.
“I am not lying,” Daniel pleaded.
“We’re going to terminate this conversation and perhaps our relationship,” Catherine said flatly but loudly. “I know you are lying, because I saw you walking down Fifth Street with Cindy at nine-thirty last night.”
Daniel was stunned. How had Catherine seen him? And he was stymied. He didn’t know what to say, but he tried, “We just went for a walk.”
“I don’t care what you do with her. Just don’t tell me you’re too tired to go out with me when you have the energy to go out with her. And don’t lie to me.”
With that, Catherine rose from her chair and threw her napkin on the table, shaking the candle in the process. Then with her head held high, she walked out of the restaurant.
All the women in the restaurant had sat on the edges of their chairs listening throughout the argument, and now they inwardly applauded Catherine as she left the building. They thought, “She has shown him.”
As Daniel sat dazed by Catherine’s words and actions, the sounds in the stylishly dimly lit restaurant seemed loud and quiet at the same time. The clinking of silverware on china was clear and pronounced, but the humming of chattering voices seemed only a faint whisper.
Daniel finished the last five bites of his steak, ate his pie, and asked the waiter for his bill. After paying it, he went out into the cool evening.
There was little wind and the air was dry. Overhead a nearly full moon hung romantically in the star dazzled sky.
Daniel couldn’t believe what had happened inside. His relationship with Catherine may have ended. She was such a wonderful woman in many ways, but at times she was very unreasonable.
And now their relationship may be over, because on the previous evening he had cancelled a date he had with her, and after napping for several hours, he had taken Cindy, his cat, for a walk.