This is just a brief scene I wrote at a coffee shop after I read Raymond Carver's "Cathedral." I wanted to try out his minimalist technique. I think it is just a character study, an analysis of a relationship.
She came from a rural area. She did not know anything about city life. Her idea of good food was the fried stuff that the corporate restaurants that lined the main road served. She was a joke.
I tried to give her culture. "If you're going to eat at bad restaurants, eat at bad restaurants," I said. I took her to Thick's Pit Barbecue in the Bad Part of Town. It was delicious. Pork so tender. Seasoned with smoke. Vinegar. Salt. Pepper. She loved it.
"What is nice restaurant?" she asked.
"What is a nice restaurant," I corrected.
"What is a nice restaurant?" she said. She shoved me and flashed a smile.
"Jefferson's," I said. "But it's really expensive."
I told her. She thought I was lying. I had to work to convince her that it was the truth. I told her I would take her there. She refused to go. She thought it was far too expensive. I prevailed.
We made reservations. Two months later, we went. I spent a fortune. She had a tagine with preserved lemons and pepper. She loved it.
After the meal, we strolled aimlessly, to the piers, and we sat and she chatted about home.
"At mother's, we had rice and beans and we did not eat fish. We used it for cooking. For taste only," she said.
She seemed sad. She was biting her nails. I asked her what was the matter. She ignored me. Her gaze was fixed on the horizon, the waves, the tide.
My phone rang. I answered it. I walked away from her to answer it.