The Break up

no me termines en un café starbucksWith an hour to kill and a desperate screeching coming from my belly, I hit my favorite kebab joint in Andel. It’s a cheap, quiet place that offers huge portions of Turkish food that quells my need or interest in human partnership.

I order, then carry my heavy plate through the bustling middle room and into the nearly empty backroom. There are three tables, I sit at the back one. Besides myself, there is a couple huddled together at the far table, murmuring to each other in that imperceptible language that only couples speak in.

I pray to Gluttovia, the Sumerian goddess of the gluttony that is about to visit my table. Just then, the woman explodes into a shit storm of tears and sobs. The man looks morose, holds her hand.

Crap. They’re breaking up.

In some way or another, this has happened to all of us. You’ve either been the person dumping in public, the person getting dumped in public, or the fat innocent bystander trying to eat a kebab. The awkwardness fills the room like that time your grandmother caught you in her makeup and lingerie. My brain snaps into escape mode. The other room is full, so I can’t leave. How can I dissipate the awkwardness?

First, I consider laughing and pointing. I search my mental catalog of Czech for “holy crap, you’re getting dumped in a kebab stand!” This would probably drive them out of the room, thus freeing me of this awkwardness. Because let’s be honest, this is all about me and my sandwich. Still, I decide against this.

I then consider bursting into tears of my own. I could fall on the ground, wail and heave, and mutter something in wild gibberish. I figure that if I could make them feel as uncomfortable as I do right now, they’ll leave. They are finished eating; there is nothing keeping them here except their obvious interest in torturing me. One glance at the floor, which resembles an obstetrician’s surgery after a delivery, nixes this possibility.

I then actually think of joining them. I’ll explain that I couldn’t hear their conversation from over in the corner and that if they don’t mind explaining their entire lives to me in rudimentary Czech I’ll fix their problems in even more rudimentary Czech. I also consider going over and telling the woman: “look, what are you crying for? This guy is dumping you in a fucking kebab stand. Shake hands, cut your losses, and find the nearest bar.”

I take a bite, so the world is mildly righted. However, even a delicious kebab can’t block out the sobbing of a hysterical woman and the murmurs of her horrified extremely-recent ex.

In my desperation I consider doing something, anything, insane enough to end this situation. What if I jumped up on the table and started dancing the Macarena? Maybe I’ll masturbate, if past experience is any indication then that will surely clear a restaurant. Or maybe I’ll break up with my kebab, start crying, shouting, and accusing her of being eaten by other men. And then I’ll throw her away and storm out.

And then I come to my senses. Did I just consider breaking up with my kebab? What was I thinking? I hold my kebab close, apologize in a low voice, promise it’ll never happen again.

The couple leaves the room while casting me odd glances. And then I eat.

  1. #1 by Mary Widdicks on May 23, 2014 - 6:42 am

    Ha ha ha. You should have gone over and asked her out 😉

    • #2 by Damien Galeone on May 23, 2014 - 9:10 am

      And where were you with this suggestion two days ago while I was throwing down a kebab under duress?

  2. #3 by Mary Widdicks on May 23, 2014 - 5:07 pm

    Clearly missing my calling as a kebab shop dating guru…

  3. #5 by Mary Widdicks on May 24, 2014 - 1:45 am

    Yes we do. I’ve been dumped in a restaurant before. I’d have been grateful for someone to ask me out! If for no other reason than revenge…

  4. #7 by Ms. Bananafish on June 3, 2014 - 12:11 pm

    It happened exactly two thousand years ago, when I was dumped in a restaurant too. But that’s actually not true – we both longed for the break up. We’re sitting at our table in our favorite restaurant, straight-faced, competing with each other secretly who would be the first one to start the speech we prepared a day ago.
    Things went well and at the end of the break-up scene we were holding each other’s hands as if nothing happened at all.
    And we wondered when it all went wrong.

(will not be published)