The 3-Star Restaurant

The 3-Star Restaurant

I eat another unsatisfactory dinner with my wife.
It is a local, popular, overcrowded, loud, 3-star restaurant.
I feel as if I am in a wind tunnel,
having to shout across the table in order to converse,
being forced to hear the deep dark secrets of my neighbors.

Once again, my vegetable dish is less than desirable.
As a vegetarian for nearly 50 years, I am used to it.
I am always asked if I want to add beef, chicken or fish.
Knowing the answer, I half-heartedly respond,
“no thanks, do you have any tofu or tempeh?”

Inevitably, I am served small child-like portions,
Sometimes white rice, sometimes brown rice,
interspersed with un-cooked hard kernels,
flavorless, over-cooked, mushy broccoli and carrots,
under-cooked, crunchy brussel sprouts and onions.

When the server asks, “how is your meal”
I want to respond loudly, so the whole room can hear,
“I wouldn’t serve it to a dog,” or “it tastes like shit.”
Instead I smile, grit my teeth and in a low monotone
force out the word “good.”

When will I ever learn to tell the truth?

I eat another unsatisfactory dinner with my wife.
Two young families, each with a boy and a girl
occupy the table next to ours,
deeply engrossed in conversation
probably gossiping about baseball or soccer parents.

I am reminded of the days when I had young children,
little boy eating ice cream, observing the conversation,
little girl, arms wrapped around her daddy, like a vice,
looking into each other’s eyes,
never wanting to let go.

Time has passed me by so quickly,
like water flowing beneath a bridge downstream,
looking back to where I came from,
never aware of where I will be,
rushing to the end into the unknown sea

You spend your whole life
seeking answers to riddles,
dreaming impossible dreams,
achieving unreachable goals,
never wanting to let go of your children.

When will I ever learn to let go?

Dennis Wayne Bressack
Woodstock, New York
January 10, 2016

Dennis Wayne Bressack
January 10, 2016