“And I’ll have a number seven,” June said.
The waiter wrote down her order and moved to the kitchen.
Her boyfriend, Leo, sat across from her. He stared at the ground. His leg was crossed and he tapped his foot vigorously to an unseen drum.
“You know it’s not a number seven,” he said.
“It’s not a number seven.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean that what you ordered isn’t a number seven. Number seven is just a representation that whoever creates the menu at Petro’s chose on a whim. What you actually ordered is a fettuccine Alfredo with roasted mushrooms and a garden salad.”
She took a sip of her water.
“I mean if you went anywhere else and said ‘I want a number seven,’ they would give you something completely different. A hamburger perhaps, a gyro, who knows.”
They sat in silence for a few moments.
“You should really call it what it is,” he said, and took a handkerchief out of his pocket. “A fettuccine Alfredo with mushrooms, and a garden salad.”
He wiped his forehead, refolded the handkerchief and put it back in his pocket. June turned her gaze to the window–looking at it rather than through it.
The waiter dropped off their food.
“A fettuccine Alfredo with roasted mushrooms, a garden salad–and a sirloin steak for you sir.” He straightened and stepped away from the table, “Just let me know if you need anything else.”
Leo cut of a large bite of steak and chewed.
She continued staring at the window.
When he was about halfway through his steak she turned from the window.
“And what if I ordered a ‘fettuccine Alfredo with roasted mushrooms, and a garden salad’ in Germany?”
He looked up, pausing mid-chew.
“Or China? Russia? Zimbabwe?” She grabbed her fork, dug into her food, and began to eat with gusto.
Leo had not resumed chewing. He shifted his gaze past her, and let his utensil-laden hands rest on the table. After a moment he took the napkin off his lap and placed it over his plate.
When they left and the bus boy came to clear their table, June’s plate was empty. Leo’s steak sat half eaten.