Tom & Becky, without Suzanne

There was a couple at a nearby table who were loud enough you couldn’t ignore them, and bizarre enough you wanted to know what would happen next.


Becky and Tom were friends from their college days, attractive, about thirty now and married to other partners.  He’d come to town on business, and invited his old friend to dinner; we gathered from the conversation that they got together a couple times a year under pretty much these circumstances.  Their conversation, while basically just the chit-chat of old friends, broadcast the tensions of a decade of missed opportunities.

Tom called home.  “Suzanne, I’m running late; stopped to have dinner with Becky and we’re waiting for the bill.”  Suzanne apparently didn’t take this well.  Becky borrowed the phone, and started to explain:  “Hi, Suzanne….”  Suzanne hung up on her.

  • “You’re in trouble, and I just made it worse.  Call her back and apologize.”
  • “Nope.  I’m just out with a friend.  A college friend.  A business friend.”
  • “You really ought to call her.”
  • “She’s the one who was rude.  She owes you an apology.”
  • “You really ought to call her.”
  • “I’m taking a stand about this.  She doesn’t have any right to be like this.”

About this time their server’s shift ended; he stopped by to pass the torch to his successor, Jane.  He opined that Tom would be wise to call Suzanne back, and told a story about a tiff with his (ex)girlfriend.

Evidently there’d been a similar row the last time Tom & Becky had dined together.  Becky, to her credit, was quite concerned about Tom’s relationship with his wife, and the impact her friendship was having on Tom’s family.  Over the next half hour, it became clear that Tom was technically right that he and Becky had “never done anything wrong” (even when both were single, evidently).  It also became real clear that Suzanne was right to believe that the technicality was, well, just a technicality.  These folks are lovers in thought, if not deed.

Tom flagged down Jane, and asked for another drink.  Jane counted up Tom’s tab, said “Seven drinks are enough,” and cut them off.  They asked for the bill they’d been waiting for when Tom called Suzanne, paid up, and left.

Dunno where Tom slept.