Thursday, June 8, 2017

Lunch break, by Florentina Elena Florea

                              Lunch break

       When people choose to interact as social beings, they add some extra to the ordinary life.
This is an ExtraOrdinary story of two strangers forced by the circumstances to have lunch at the same table and focuses on the inner perception of one of the characters.

Elevator: "přízemí- first floor”. I just became an ant and I'm hungry.
Spielberk Office Centre in Holandska is full during lunchtime. I like watching people from the office window whenever I have a break. They seem to be ants leaving from or coming to their anthill in patterns. Most of them get inside their specific entrance between 7:30-8:30AM individually. At lunchtime may form pairs or groups following certain routes in their search for food. Between 4:30-5:30PM leave the most. You may see a rewind of the morning route, except for the fact that some of them form small groups now.
The doors of the building open wide. They promise a sense of freedom and fresh air. The wind is playing with my hair for a crazy hairstyle. I don’t mind. My hair always seemd to have a personality of its own no matter my taming methods.
I follow the route to one of my favorite places to eat. As crowded as usually. I spot a 2 seat table-mine! Hmm, this dish looks yummy. Decided! I wait, check time, Facebook’s latest news,  messages. Delicious mixed scent seduces my nose. Tic tac, tic tac. Food arrived and is as good as it looks. A man comes closer obviously looking for a seat. Says something pointing to the free seat but the crowd is noisy and I cannot even distinguish if it's Czech or English. I'm not comfortable, but I understand the situation: hungry guy, no time to waste, no seats. I admire he had the courage to ask and because of that now I really doubt he is local. I smile politely and raise my hand opened as an invitation to sit down. I'm eating while he is waiting for his plate. I can see him watching me, started from hands, stops to observe the map on my watch, continues, no eye contact. His meal arrived. He looks directly into my eyes then to the plate, at me again and smiles. No need for words- I understand and he knows it- we ordered the same food. I take my next bite and say "mmm" to express taste appreciation and watching his reaction: he smiles. What a nice smile! He takes his first bite and replies "mmm mmm". I involuntary laugh. He seems pleased with my reaction. “Hei, you're playful” my mind whispered. We continued eating smiling every time our eyes met. I wonder when adults lost this type on interaction children have so easily. No intention, not overanalyzing. He adds some pepper and before putting it back made a gesture as asking if I want it. I move my head left to right that I do not and he understands, therefore he’s not from Bulgaria where the same sign means yes.
I almost finished so I have a short look at him while eating. I feel entitled as he did the same. I like what I see. I just observe without making assumptions based on appearance. The sun highlights half of his face. He has at least 3 different colors of hair in his beard. This observation made me smile. For a second I've got lost into hazel eyes. Oh! I need to go; my mind woke me up like morning alarm. Tic tac, tic tac. I put on my coat in a hurry. He seems surprised, drops the fork but doesn’t seem to care about it and moves back his chair a little. While he made his first sound in an attempt to say something I stopped for a moment and felt as time itself stopped just for this little table. I looked into his eyes and touched my index finger against my lips: Pssst! I winked as closing our mute conversation and left the stranger into the noisy conglomeration of ants.
Is the sun brighter on my return? Were the ducks on the lake? How cute! I really like Holandska- looks like a piece of Holland. Petrov, you are beautiful too, no need to remind  me we’re actually in the heart of Brno. What is the plan for the weekend? I need to reply that e-mail as soon as I get back! What time is it, am I late? I need to pass by the post office in the afternoon!
"Přízemí- first floor- elevator is going up”. Yes, elevator, make me human again! I thought. “You are an ant” the elevator replied.

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