(photo courtesy to Dida)
In the tiny town garden of a little vegetarian burger restaurant in Ixelles grows a single tree, its branches like long arms stretching over a few iron tables and chairs. The September started and is ending with the sunshine making people happy. On Saturday at noon two blond girls on a date sit down looking forward to each one´s favorite burger, smiling and talking about their weekend plans. Obviously, more and promising things are to happen this weekend.
At the next table, close to the tree trunk, drinking a cool cider is a woman waiting for her company, checking messages and emails, as the confirmed hour has already passed and it is unusual for this friend to be late. Finally, after seeing the latest text message, she realizes it is 1 p.m. instead of 12.30 stated in the previous email. Too many channels, to many exchanges the technology has brought.
There she is, with a smile, dressed in a cream color summer top and a matching skirt with a few pieces of artistic gold jewelry. Perfect. Warm welcome, not from the Tree, obviously. It has a strangely autumnal mood, though the season of winds and falls has barely started.
A waitress comes, smiling but with an air of embarrassment:
“Excuses me, Mesdames, there will unfortunately be no burgers today. The cook just cut his finger badly and has to stop working…”
If he stayed, the burgers would not be so vegetarian anymore, with a bit of cook´s flesh and blood in them, the woman thinks and continues the conversation with the service:
“You can have a gazpacho soup, a salad and sandwiches, that we can fix.”
We are three waiting girls, not experts at cooking. Fair and honest enough.
“Of course, we will order cold.”
From the next table, one of the blond girls adds:
“You must come for the burgers one day; they are really delicious.”
All girls, all smiles.
The two women seeing each other after months of summer begin to talk. Exchanging bits of news, with short patches of silences necessary for adjusting to each other. Somewhere in the middle of the cold lunch on a warm day the topic switches:
“Remember my ex-boyfriend? I told you I haven´t heard from him for more than a year?”
“Yes, why?” Not so many boyfriends as to lose the count of them.
“Well, he passed away. A sad story. He was so lonely in this city these last years that nobody really knew he didn´t go well. Until quite late. Then his family came and took him back to his country. There he died. I bumped into his colleagues not long ago.”
“Sorry to hear that.” She puts down the spoon, and looks at the Tree; it is not too big as to fit into the small yard, a proportion conscious, well-behaved Tree. The fact that the yard is facing the north probably prevents him from growing taller. A breeze caresses its dry leaves, and the naked arms of the women.
“Shall we go for a walk and sit in a park for a while? I think it´ll be nice.”
The blond girls have already left.
The waitress says they will close for the day, it´s too complicated, to serve people and to prepare their meals while the main thing on the menu is crossed out.
“Never mind. A reason to come back on another day, for the burgers.” More smiles.
Yes, burgers. And to say hello to the Tree as the autumn goes, the woman thinks while stepping into the sunny street busy with the Saturday projects.