The Lone Diner

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I had accomplished something re my job. It’s not a rare event, but it’s rare enough to merit a celebration, even if it was in the middle of the day. I took myself out to a nice restaurant, a little bit on the fancy side one might say, in the heart of Midtown. I went alone, accompanied only by my self-satisfaction of having done something good.

I was planning on a steak, but the daily special was blackened swordfish, and I am a sucker for blackened anything, as long as it’s cooked well. I looked up from the menu and noticed a woman eating alone. Now I don’t know what it is about the people who seat you in these restaurants, but they kind of save a small section for solitary diners. I was placed in that section.

I sat with my back to the wall, and directly across from me was a single woman, around twenty years younger, also dining alone. The woman was nice looking. She looked just a little sad, but perhaps I was projecting? Her hair was a little flat. She could definitely have benefitted via a visit to a beauty parlor. Her defining features, as far as I was concerned, were that she was alone, attractive, and did not have a gold band on her left hand.

You cannot stare at the woman eating across from you, and like many women she had that female ability to never, ever look at me, even if I was directly across from her. I knew women hear everything and see everything, it’s just for the life of me I don’t know how they arrange never to be seen doing it. She had a glass of white wine, and she did not finish it. Very female of her, if you ask me.

I enjoy fantasizing on such occasions, trying to fill in the missing details of who exactly was the woman across from me, and what had brought her to lunch at such a restaurant. I decided she had divorced, received a nice settlement, and while she had a job, she was not hurting at all for money. She had kids when she was very young, but they were far away, probably in college given my estimate of her age as being in her very early forties, although late 30s was possible, too.

She now lived alone, was self-sufficient, had lots of women friends, and had no need for men, romance, or sex with men. She had been there, done that. Maybe, however, if the right man came along and somehow met her when she dined alone in a midtown eatery like this one, such as the man currently dining directly across from her, well then, maybe…

My food came and I was bit distracted when a man came with a pepper mill the size of Montana, and another came to offer to grate parmesan cheese on my appetizer of a small dish of pasta, and then a third man brought me my red wine. When I looked up the woman was gone, and the bus boys were clearing her table, erasing any memory of her ever having eaten there or even having existed. Minutes later they were ready for another hungry customer to take her seat.

We had been two anonymous solitary diners in New York City, doubtless never to cross paths again, I was sure. She had intrigued me for some reason. She had an unjustified familiar look. I think what intrigued me though had been the slight sadness around her eyes, if it was indeed sadness. Perhaps that’s just the way her face rests and she has always seemed sad, even when she was happy? I enjoyed my lunch and moved on to other thoughts.

A week or so later I was at the gym I go to on occasion and trying to remain healthy before I had to see my doctor for my annual physical. He always asks me if I exercise regularly, and I wanted to be able to say at the least that I exercise occasionally. I had taken a shower, and dressed, and was about to leave the gym when I saw her again, my dining companion of whom I knew nothing at all but for whom I had constructed a fantasy life.

She had used the pool I guess because she had a faint whiff of chlorine about her as we shared the elevator to descend to the exit. We both followed elevator etiquette and did not speak nor even look at each other in the elevator. I of course broke etiquette just a bit, giving her a double take to make sure she was the same woman. She was.

With us both standing in the elevator I was able to enjoy the womanly curves of her body in a way I had not been able to do when I had first seen her in the restaurant. I cursed that the elevator ride was so short. Why couldn’t the gym have been on a higher floor?

Like many women who visit a gym, she was wearing yoga pants that were skin tight, and I got to make a close study of her buttocks, which were magnificent. Now that I’m older, I’ve supplemented my lifelong fascination with a woman’s boobs to include her ass as well. It’s a sign of maturity, you might say.

As we both exited the gym I lingered in place on the sidewalk, pretending to fiddle with my phone but in fact using the occasion to observe her gait as she walked away. One of the great things about yoga pants is that you can watch all parts of the woman’s behind move in synchrony as she walks. On this particular woman the way the parts bostancı escort bayan move I found to be highly sexy.

My suspicions were right. She had a nice wiggle to her walk. I was able to confirm my impression in the elevator that this woman had curves in all the right places, and truly nice curves, at that. My opinion of this woman I would doubtless never see again morphed from pretty to sexy.

As I watched her walk away, I lingered watching her perhaps a bit too long. I was being pretty obvious and strangers might think it was creepy or something. Maybe it even was creepy? I confirmed again, so that there was no doubt, what I had briefly noticed in the elevator. She had an excellent body, a hell of a lot better than my body was, but then I have up to twenty years of age on her.

I thought it was strange to see her again, but strange things happen, and life is chock full of odd coincidences. Anyway, since I had seen her twice, I decided to give her a name, and I decided to call her Joan, of course only in my own mind for the purposes of idle fantasizing.

My construction of Joan’s life began to fill out a bit. She lived in Murray Hill, in one of those new buildings whose interiors looked as if they could be the interior of convention hotels. I decided she was a secret exhibitionist, and always kept her blinds up, even when she was undressing for bed or for the shower. Her neighbors would get the occasional delightful peek, if they were looking at her window at just the right time. She would get the thrill of showing herself off just a bit, but with almost no risk at all. She was that kind of girl, I decided, even if I had no basis for thinking such things. Hey, it was my fantasy, right? My fantasies could evolve according to my taste and my rules. It’s only reasonable.

Another week passed. I needed a new lamp. I had this fancy Italian lamp, and the lightbulb tended occasionally to flicker, and it drove me up the wall. I confirmed it was a problem intrinsic to the lamp and not the lightbulb. I had money and life is short so I decided to replace the lamp. There are some fancy Italian lamp stores down in SoHo, so that’s where I went. SoHo can be annoying because the sidewalks are small and yet the region is packed with high end fashion shoppers and tourists, especially on the weekends.

I was wending my way through the crowds and finally found the safety of the inside of a high-end lamp store. It was the same store that had sold me the original lamp that now flickered annoyingly. I lodged my complaints about the lamp I had bought, received the right level of insincere sympathy, and pretended to be mollified.

The saleswoman, herself quite a cute number but too young for me (although it was fun to fantasize), showed me some nice new lamps, guaranteed not to flicker. I enjoyed looking down her blouse whenever she bent over, which was surprisingly often.

A woman who had recently entered the store caught me looking down the salesgirl’s blouse and apparently she was amused by this. She idly said, to nobody in particular, “This store is filled with so many wonderful things to look down … at.” I think I may have blushed.

I looked at the critic and it was the same woman! She was the one to whom I had given the name Joan. She was the solitary diner, the woman at the gym, and now the clever critic at the lighting store. I was startled when I realized it was Joan, the third time in as many weeks I had run into her just by chance.

A bit brazenly, Joan spoke up again saying, “Looking for something to light up your life?”

“You could say that,” I replied. “I had something, but it’s flickering annoyingly.”

“It sounds like you need something that will keep you, I mean your apartment, lit up the whole night long, if need be, without even the slightest flicker,” Joan said, smiling seductively. I had to be careful about the seductive smile thing. I find myself attracted to any pretty woman who smiles at me. Add to that a woman with a seductive smile and I become putty in her hands. Add to that her clever double entendres, and I was sunk. “Do you live alone?” Joan continued.

I could not believe how forward Joan was being. Had I talked that way to a woman I would have been slapped! Instead I just said, “Yes.”

“I do too,” Joan said, “and I too need something to light up my life.” Joan let those words hang in the air for a minute or so, before she added, “I’m thinking of a halogen lamp.” Joan turned to the eavesdropping, amused saleswoman and asked, “What could you propose?”

The saleswoman led Joan over to a corner where a little cluster of lamps sat, giving off brilliant glows of lovely white light. “Is your apartment dark? Do you get natural light?” I heard the saleswoman ask. I did not hear Joan’s replies.

I stood close enough to see what lamps attracted Joan’s eye. Women I find often have better taste in interior design than I have. For my taste, all the lamps were pretty, ümraniye escort and so were Joan and the saleswoman.

Joan and the saleswoman went over to the counter. The saleswoman left, presumably to go to the storeroom to fetch the lamp Joan wanted. “What did you decide on, if I may ask?” I inquired of Joan.

“I’m Mary, by the way,” the woman I had been thinking of as Joan said.

“I’m Mark,” I replied. “Mark Green. Pleased to meet you.” Mary smiled in reply.

“What did you decide on?” I asked again. Mary looked puzzled. “Which lamp will you get?” I asked.

“Oh,” Mary said. “That. I thought you were asking what I had decided about you,” she added, speaking with some relief. “I chose the Model 12 halogen with the blown glass shade. Do you approve?”

I could not answer her. I was too stunned by the conversation. Seeing this, Mary smiled to herself, and she said, “I saw you at the restaurant, at the gym, and now here. I figure it’s kismet, karma. The fates want us to meet. Don’t you agree?”

I don’t think like that, being a cynical and weary New Yorker and all. Maybe she was more of a bimbo than I thought? Maybe she was raised by hippie parents in California or something? Nevertheless, I said, in all simplicity, “Yes.”

The saleswoman returned, Mary bought the lamp and arranged delivery, and she turned to me, and said, “Well?”

“Well what?” I said, continually flummoxed by this little vixen.

“Aren’t you going to invite me out for a coffee, or a drink, or dinner tonight? I don’t see as how we have much choice. You cannot defy destiny,” Mary said.

“Mary, do you have the time and inclination to join me for a coffee?” I asked, having been manipulated into asking her, but not minding it a bit.

“Why Mark, what a nice idea. I’d be delighted,” she replied, and off we went to a nearby coffee house. I saw a bemused smile on the face of the saleswoman as we left the store together. I had forgotten to buy a lamp.

For all of her forward behavior in the lighting store, Mary became shy and private at the café. I had to drag conversation out of her. Her whole mood changed, however, when I asked if she were free for dinner that very night? She lit up upon hearing my question. She was free. We made a date.

“Where can I pick you up?” I asked.

“Oh, no need for that. We can meet at the restaurant perhaps? What place did you have in mind?”

I told her and went to Open Table and snagged a table for two at 7:30pm. “Give me your email and I’ll have Open Table send you an invitation.”

“No need,” Mary said. “I know the place.”

When we left the café I wished her a pleasant day and told her I was looking forward to our date tonight. “I like you, Mark Green. Remember that, please,” Mary said, and she stood on her toes angling up her head for a kiss. I’m a little over six feet, and Mary was around five feet three, or five feet five with heels, which she had on.

I bent down to kiss her on her cheek, but she moved her head so that I kissed her on the mouth. Her arms went around me and she opened her mouth and gave me, right there at the exit of the café, a long and lingering kiss. Then she looked at her phone and ran off into the wind. I watched her as she left, her skirts blowing around her hips, while she wiggled up a storm as she scurried away as if she were desperately late for an important appointment, or something. It was a delightfully sexy sight. I love watching women in heels scurry.

I bought a small bouquet of flowers to bring to the restaurant and eagerly awaited her arrival. I took our table and ordered a cocktail to sip while I waited for the arrival of my sexy, curvy, mystery woman. After I had sat there for 45 minutes or so, the maître d’hôtel came to my table and handed me a folded note. It was from Mary, offering her apologies. By this time, I had figured out that she was not coming, but still, it was nice to get the note.

It occurred to me that I knew nothing about Mary other than my own careful survey of how pretty and sexy she was. Basically, all I knew was that her name was Mary. I did not even know her last name. Amazing.

I gave up on her and ordered a nice dinner for myself. There were no single women eating there for me to have fantasies about, so I spent the parts of the dinner when one is not actively eating by staring into my wine glass, thinking. There was something about Mary that reminded me of someone. She was my true love, way back when I was in college. She was a little sexpot named Melissa. I have never fully recovered from Melissa, and Mary brought her back to me, although for the life of me I could not have told you why.

When I got home I checked my mail, and there was a note in my mailbox. I waited until I was upstairs in my apartment before opening it, putting the other mail (mostly bills, anyway) aside. It said, “Please forgive me, Mark. Meet me under the clock at Grand Central Station at 6pm tomorrow? I’ll be escort kartal the woman in the red dress. Mary.” The note was written with a computer, but the word ‘Mary’ was written in ink, with a feminine hand.

How the bleep did Mary know where I lived? I’m sure I did not tell her, and even if she knew my name was Mark Green, it’s not easy to track down someone’s residence with only a name, let alone a name as non-distinctive as Mark Green. It can be done, though, if – for example – one has access to DMV records. There are automated services that can do it, though. Maybe she bought one of those.

That gave me one full day to figure out what was going on. It was 9pm, so I had 21 hours. Subtract seven hours for sleep, and I had 14 hours. That’s a lot of hours, I thought. I got out the good whiskey (WhistlePig Rye Whiskey, my favorite) and got to work. Perhaps I should explain. I am a spy.

I’m not the James Bond kind of spy, even if my Platinum American Express card number ends in 007. No, I’m an industrial spy. Company X hires me to spy on Company Y. Everybody hates industrial spies. I do however get very well paid, and I have developed some formidable skills.

I don’t have all the skills old fashioned spies used to develop, such as memorizing a person with a single look, but I had seen Mary enough so that I knew what she looked like. The thing I knew was that her name was Mary, and the locations of the three places I had seen her. I also knew she was resourceful enough to figure out where I lived.

I used some special software to create an ‘artist’s sketch’ of her face. It took a couple of hours to do it but in the end, I had to admit it was pretty good. The first time we met, at Brasserie Ruhlmann at Rockefeller Center, was likely to be the neighborhood where she too worked. This did not help a lot, since it was the center of midtown and from Park Avenue to Seventh Avenue, and 33rd Street to 56th Street, there must have been over 100,000 people who worked in that neighborhood.

Midtown, Midtown South and Downtown account for 450 million square feet of office space — three times what all of Chicago has and twice as much as London has. Too many people work there for it even to be worth a try. I needed a new idea.

In my fantasy life for Mary I had decided she would live in Murray Hill. That was a neighborhood close to the gym where we had run into each other, too. What the bleep, I would start there. I made this ridiculous decision around 11pm, after probably just a little bit too much WhistlePig had not only reached my tummy but entered my bloodstream and was affecting my brain. I could access the video logs of selected buildings in the Murray Hill neighborhood, due to my job as a spy, and I ran the videos against the ‘artist’s sketch’ of Mary’s face that I had made. I used four of my five computers to do this in parallel, since it was tedious work.

While my four computers were working, I used my fifth computer to scan the internet for naked pictures of women until I found one with something like Mary’s body. I swapped the face with my sketch of Mary’s face, and wow – now I had a photo of Mary’s nude body, or at least as I imagined it to be. My cock stirred at the sight of my fabulous creation.

Around midnight I got a few dings from computer number three. I checked them out, and there was Mary, no question, walking briskly, almost running, down Park Avenue South and looking terrified. The time date stamp showed it was around a half hour before we had been supposed to meet at the restaurant. Oh. I get it. My anger with Mary for having not shown at the restaurant turned to sympathy. Something, or someone, was scaring my little Mary half to death.

I still knew nothing about her, but now I knew she was in trouble, and I knew I wanted to help. I decided to keep the rendezvous, even if I had no idea if she would show up, or not.

By the time 5:30pm rolled around the next day, I knew a lot about Mary. I had called the lighting store. I explained I had come to look for a lamp, and had spoken with another customer named Mary, and being delighted to see her again, I had left with her and forgotten to buy my lamp. Could I buy via this telephone call the same lamp she had bought? Her name was Mary something, and the time of day she had bought the lamp was around 2pm.

The clerk at the lamp store asked me to wait. She checked the records. Only one Mary had bought a lamp that day. “Was she Mary Sorensen?” the clerk asked.

“Yes, exactly!” I said. I bought the same lamp, the Model 12 halogen with a blown glass shade. I charged it to my 007 American Express card, and arranged delivery. Now I knew her name. My research went into high gear.

Mary was married to a banking executive named Kasper Sorensen. She had no children. She lived on Park Avenue in a penthouse apartment. She was a bit of an exhibitionist, too, never closing her blinds, and undressing in the window. She probably had a few dedicated fans, I imagined. When the video log had observed her fleeing something scary, however, she was fleeing in a direction away from her residence, at quite a distance away from where she lived, in fact. That strange fact I could not explain, or at least I could not yet explain it.

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