Monday, September 5, 2011
First, A Song
"My name is Pedro. I sing for you. The Spanish, they love the music. Is romantic."
Jennifer cringed. Her stomach tightened into a ball of knots as Pedro began to serenade them. Randy reached across the table and tried to take her hand. Jennifer saw a lumpy box poking out of his breast pocket and quickly grabbed a few tortilla chips. She dipped them into the salsa before Randy could touch her. Tomato juice dripped down her wrist and along her forearm. She dropped the mess onto her plate and wrapped her arm in the linen napkin.
Randy scooted his chair closer to her and draped his arm across the back. She was pinned in by Randy's chair on one side and Pedro on the other. Her stomach lurched. She had to get out of there. Desperate, she snatched another tortilla chip from the basket and scooped up as much salsa as she could. She hurriedly brought the clump of food toward her face and then dropped it into her lap. The salsa splashed across her skirt.
"Oh no! I've got to go wash this out."
Jennifer's chair scraped against the wood of the floor, momentarily drowning out the baleful sounds of Pedro's love song. She inched toward the singer, whose eyes closed with emotion as he crooned to the couple. Jennifer impatiently tried to squeeze past him, but didn't have the gumption to knock his arm and send his fingers skittering across the strings.
Pedro tilted his head back and howled his love. "Excuse me!" she repeated loudly.
Pedro opened his eyes and took in the scene. A panicked young woman. A red stain on her lap. A look of despair as she hurried away from her lover. Pedro's volume dropped and he quietly strummed the strings, moving out of Jennifer's way and turning his attention to other couples; couples who were smiling into each other's eyes instead of running away.
"Hurry back, Jenny-bear. I have something I want to ask you," Randy said in a sing-song voice to Jennifer's back.
Jennifer froze for a moment, stiffening slightly before grabbing her purse. She held her skirt away from her legs and hurried off. She hoped she looked like a concerned young woman on her way to clean up as she brushed past people and headed not toward the restroom, but toward the front door.