Arnon Grunberg


Eight years

The other day I was walking around in the early evening, contemplating whether I should look for an outdoor café (all restaurants in New York are outdoor cafes these days and it’s romantic, what’s romanticism without some inconvenience?) for some light food or whether I should go straight home to finish the article I was working on.
I passed a steakhouse two blocks away from me. I had never been there, it was not my kind of steakhouse, in generally I’m not too fond of steakhouses.
A maître ‘d on the street (the restaurant scene takes place on the streets these days) was looking at me and I was looking at him. We recognized each other. It was Mario, a guy from Albania, he used to work in Sant Ambroeus on Madison Avenue as a waiter.
It must have been eight years ago since our last meeting.
There was genuine happiness. A moment of bliss, waiter and customer are not exactly husband and wife, but still, it felt like homecoming.
‘Do you want a table?’ he asked.
‘Of course,’ I said.
I sat down, there were not too many diners, the heater worked well and the steak was expensive but more than decent.
He gave me his business card.
‘Let’s not wait again eight years,’ he said.
I ordered coffee.
Then I continued my walk home.

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