Bad Sneakers

He was already sitting at the bar when she walked in.  There was no need for him to look up; the sound of her footsteps was familiar enough.  He gestured at the bartender, and a drink was waiting for her by the time she sat down.

They sat quietly, sipping their drinks, for several minutes.  A server eventually came over and placed baskets of food in front of them: a cheeseburger for him and baked fish for her.

“This looks good,” she said.

“Don’t.  Just . . . don’t,” he replied.  She turned back to her food, and they fell silent once more.

The bar was mostly empty.  Only one other couple sat at a table in the corner.  The only sounds to keep them company was the radio behind the bar.  Each signaled the bartender for another drink.  Not another word was spoken.

After his last sip of beer, when he was finished eating, he placed a fifty dollar bill on the bar.  He stood, leaned over, and kissed her very gently on the cheek.  As he turned to leave, “Bad Sneakers” by Steely Dan started playing on the radio.  He grimaced and shook his head, then walked out of the bar.

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