Buck and I went out to dinner last night. The restaurant had a little foyer in it with a demilune table and a gold leaf mirror over it. Buck was already speaking to the maitre’d who guided him through a silently swinging, quilted leather door when I remembered the thin gold chain in my hand.
My necklace. It had a knot in the chain, as they always do. I had untangled the knot on the way to the restaurant, but forgot to put it on. I stopped in front of the mirror to fasten the clasp, making sure the diamond solitaire was centered just in the hollow of the v-shaped bone in my neck.
I opened the inner door. The maitre’d was nowhere to be found. Only a few tables were filled and in the dim light, I didn’t pay much attention as I wandered from room to room. I got all the way to the very last small room, but didn’t find him.
Puzzled, I checked to be sure my glasses were on my face, and began to retrace my steps. By this time, almost every table was full. Everyone was dressed nicely in semi-formal attire. But I stopped still in my tracks and tried not to stare when I saw that everyone’s faces were painted or tattooed with Chinese (please forgive my ignorance) or Japanese (please forgive my ignorance) language characters — men, women and children. There was no conversation; no background music; only the rustle of my dress and the click of my high heels on the quarry tile floor.
I continued to walk toward the front, looking for Buck. He wasn’t there.
But I did see my first husband, still thin and wearing gold-rimmed eyeglasses, although much balder than the last time I saw him, looking more like his father now (the one who told me he hoped all of my dreams would turn to ashes and dust, that one).
I kept walking, and walking and walking until I woke up.