The three were beautiful people, you could just tell. A stylishly thin, elegant woman in her late 50s, work done on her face, for sure, but almost good enough not to be obvious. Her highlighted blonde hair only showed the merest streak of uncolored gray, which, in a way, provided natural highlights. An animated but not particularly handsome man, also in his late 50s, a barely paunchy belly pushing just a little at the buttons on his expensive shirt, his receding hair still thick and curly in spots. His soft leather slip-on shoes poked out from beneath his designer dress slacks. He wore no socks. A girl in her early 20s nothing short of stunning. Her long, thick blond hair draped over her bare shoulders, a fan of white gold against her black tank top. A yellow-and-black print skirt hugged her narrow hips, flaring out above her knees, just so. If you looked from her mother to her, you could see the likeness of so many yesterdays perfectly formed in this young beauty of today.
They were seated next to us at a four-top on the outdoor terrace. Icy cold, fruity martinis flowed, even at our table. Grapefruit this, lemon drop that, raspberry anything—all the perfect accompaniments to the images of cool and beautiful.
I watched the older gentleman bend close to the girl to hear something she was telling him. He laughed and gripped her shoulder, then removed his arm, his hand lingering only a second as he gave her the merest caress. The mother smiled at this and sipped her drink.
I realized I had been staring at this table for longer than a minute. I looked at RG Son and his girlfriend. They were as mesmerized by the trio as I. Without knowing when and how it had happened, the beautiful people had rendered us silent and uninteresting to each other, drawn as we were to watching their every move.
Suddenly, another gentleman appeared at their table. “My God, Hank, great to see you!” said the older man to another man about his age. “Pull up a chair!”
Hank obliged and introductions were made. “This is Caitlyn, as you know, and her mom, who is in town visiting.” Hank kissed both women on the cheek. Oh, okay, so the daughter lived here in town and was out with Dad for Father’s Day weekend, and the mom was here, too. Clearly, Mom and Dad were not married any longer, but they seemed on good terms. Nice.
The young girl said something else to the Dad, and he stroked her forearm as she spoke.
RG Son looked at me, I looked at RG Son’s girlfriend, and she mouthed a silent, “What?”
“Janet, Mark!” shouted the Dad at another couple walking closer to our table. “Come on over here, can you? I want you to meet Caitlyn and her mother.”
Janet and Mark pushed their way behind our seats and made their way to the beautiful table. They stood awkwardly because there were no more chairs. Or maybe it was the introduction by the mother that prompted their discomfort: “Hi, I’m the mom and my daughter Caitlyn is the girlfriend.”
“Are you kidding me?” whispered RG Son’s girlfriend. RG Son and I were stupid and slow in processing this.
“Wait, the mom is his girlfriend? Oh, no. Hold it, the GIRL is his girl?” I said to no one.
“I’m done looking over there,” muttered RG Son.
But how could we not look, now that we knew. As the group continued to grow, tables were brought together and extra chairs fitted around them. With each additional guest, the mother moved further away from her beautiful daughter. Finally, a party of 11 was before us, the mother alone at one end of the haphazardly arranged tables, the friends of the older man everyplace else. Next to the older man, of course, sat the beautiful daughter. Except she was hardly his daughter as he kissed her hair and she rested her hand on his knee.
Not once did the mother’s smile ever wane as she introduced herself as “the girlfriend’s mother” each and every time to the steady stream of newcomers. Only one of the newly arrived guests seemed uncomfortable with the May-September romantic tableau before her-—a middle-aged mother with her 10-year-old boy who was as bored sitting there as his mother was uneasy assessing her own faded allure in the face of such youthful perfection. Of such in-your-face lust.
“That is just…gross,” said RG Son’s girlfriend.
“You have to wonder how great he’s going to seem to her in another 10 years, when she is 33 and he is pushing 70,” I said.
RG Son said nothing for a moment, then wondered aloud: “Hey maybe he donated a kidney to the mother and he met the daughter at the hospital and it was love at first sight because, you know, he saved her mom’s life.”
“Right, and maybe they are a team that goes after rich men, one of them always marries the guy, and they get all the money after a quickie divorce,” countered RG Son’s girlfriend.
“Maybe she works for him, and now the whole relationship is out in the open, and even her mom is okay with it,” I concluded.
“Okay, enough watching,” RG Son said.
“Yeah,” RG Son’s girlfriend agreed.
“Yeah,” I said.
We sipped our drinks. The terrace filled, and soon the beautiful table was lost in the crowd.
We paid our check and talked about where to go next for dinner.
A cheer went up from the beautiful table. Glasses were hoisted in a toast. The beautiful girl leaned her head on the older man’s shoulder. I looked for the mom’s reaction. But mom was no longer seated at the table. Gone? Where? For how long?
“Maybe they’re just in love,” I said. “You know, just stupid in love.”
And that is how we left them. Stupid in love.