It is Friday night and pavements are swaying with late night drinkers. People of theatre, street musicians, slightly aged end-of-the-week pub crawlers.
I am sitting at ‘Sweet Mother’s Kitchen’ down on Courtney Place and writing on a waiter provided pad. Only slightly drunk. Not enough to find a man at the next table attractive. Still I watch him.
He looks like a young man who has forgotten he is young. He is eating alone. There is a sign ‘Please ask first’ on his table. Black briefcase sitting on a chair next to him. His every move is carefully rationed. Fork lifted with only necessary movement. Mouth opened merely as required. No waste. I sip my drink and watch him move his jaw just sufficiently to pulp the food. No more.
I light my cigarette and wondered what would happen if I lean across and touch his face. Would he drop the fork, wince, jerk backwards … would there be any sudden movement at all? Or would he silently point me to the sign on his table?
Young girls in painfully tight skirts and low-cut tops passing by in batches. Laughing. Their breasts spilling out. He is now cutting his meat into equal looking pieces. I have to hold onto the age of my table to stop myself from leaping forward and turning his head towards those girls.
Middle-age man in a pimp looking outfit leans over the empty chair and ask if I fancy some company. ‘Keep on walking man’. He sees my pad; ‘Oh you are a fucking writer!’ ‘I said – keep on walking man!’
Maori boy from the next table looks my way. He smiles at me. I like him instantly. ‘Everything OK Ma’am?’ ‘Yep, ta.’ Pimp moves on.
I see the man with the briefcase has left. Young Indian couple sitting at his table now. She nurses love in coffee coloured eyes. Much better.
Maori boy moves into the empty chair next to mine.
I note how young he is.
‘Just passing the night man. You?’
‘My girl left me yesterday.’
‘That’s shit. ‘
‘You knew her name?’
‘Her name … has she told you her name?’
‘Sure she has … Moana, she was called Moana. Why?’
‘I kissed a man today who would not tell me his name. ‘
‘That stinks … why wouldn’t he?’
‘Because I am a writer.’
‘Crap. Wanna hug?’