Mystery Surveillance

Steak-public-domain
Illustration by Starstone at Lithuanian Wikipedia

I recently had a 3.5 hour lunch meeting with two friends at one of the nicest restaurants in Ajijic, Mexico.  While we were there, the scenario I am about to describe started to unwind at the next table—the one directly in my line of vision.  See what you make of it:

An elderly Anglo white-haired man sat alone at the table for 1/2 hour or more. Then a respectable-looking middle-aged Mexican woman joined him, sitting at a right angle to him. Both of their faces were clearly within my sight and I could see that for the next hour, she never smiled at him. She smiled at the waiters, but not at him. Nor did she often talk to him. He looked excited when she came in, smiled and talked a blue streak. She just stared in front of her,  not looking mad, just not ever engaging or talking, and only occasionally looking at him. Once she nodded. Never said one word. The waiter came and brought a dinner plate of food which he sat in the middle of table. and placed two small empty plates in front of them. The woman piled what looked like shish-kebab and rice on her plate. He put food on his plate. Obviously, they were sharing a meal. She ate neatly, spearing the food piece by piece. He ate. He talked some. She never looked at him. I wondered if it was a blind date and she wasn’t interested in this old codger, or if she was perhaps his housekeeper and he had invited her out. She ate all on her plate, filled it twice more and ate it bit by bit. Drank her margarita. He had a tall beer. He ate the food on his plate and filled it again at least once.

When the waiters came, she smiled and talked to them. I thought their meal was through, so was surprised when the waiter brought two more full meals—a huge steak and fries for her, steak and baked spud for him. She ate one French fry after another from her fork, but no meat. Eventually, she cut off a small piece of the steak and ate it. He ate his meal and for most of the time they ate, there was no talking. Then he talked a bit, smiling and animated like he was telling a story. She occasionally nodded. Didn’t talk. No smile. So odd. This went on for a couple of hours!

She asked the waiter for a doggie bag and he brought one Styrofoam container. She put her huge steak in it and some French fries. The old man cut off part of his steak and gave it to her to put in her container. When he finished, the waiter took his plate away and I thought they’d leave, but the waiter brought the dessert menu which the woman looked very interested in. All at once she was animated and talked a little bit to the man. They shared a chocolate mousse which she seemed to enjoy immensely. She then talked to the man a bit. Two and a half to three hours had now passed. I was pretty sure she had probably come out with her employer and was being sure not to flirt and to make it clear this was not a date. He still seemed interested in her, but with no reciprocity.

The waiter brought the bill in a basket and presented it to the man. He had a look at the total and passed it over to the woman, who opened her purse and paid the whole bill with her credit card!!! Now the whole scenario was a mystery again. She left first. He left after and I made sure to follow him out. She was totally gone by the time we got to the door. He headed out toward the lake, a few blocks away, on his own. Now I’ll never know what the deal was. Can you guess?

 

This entry was posted in Mystery, Story, Uncategorized and tagged on by .

About lifelessons

My blog, which started out to be about overcoming grief, quickly grew into a blog about celebrating life. I post daily: poems, photographs, essays or stories. I've lived in countries all around the globe but have finally come to rest in Mexico, where I've lived since 2001. My books may be found on Amazon in Kindle and print format, my art in local Ajijic galleries. Hope to see you at my blog.

23 thoughts on “Mystery Surveillance

  1. Sascha Darlington

    Don’t you just love people watching?
    Now to make up the story. Her ex-? He’s blackmailing her? He’s a poor writer whom she’s supporting so everyone discovers his talent but she just discovered she’s the source material for his new book? 🙂

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  2. Marilyn Armstrong

    They sound like a couple in the middle of a divorce — or thinking about one — or the brother/sister/cousin/aunt of a divorcing (or remarrying?) couple. But that sounded like family stuff. The whole stony-face thing is SO family.

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  3. A Lurking Reader

    Here’s a wild theory: There’s a sub-culture out there called financial domination – mostly women (“findommes” – Google it.) who advertise for men to submit to them in the form of $$$. Perhaps it was HIS credit card she is carrying, and this was their periodic meet-up. (Yes, there are some VERY strange folk in the world.) It’s a fascinating mystery though. Thanks for the read.

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      Well, you may be the current top dog re/ possible explanations. Must say this is one I never would have thought of. I second Sascha’s comment that the solutions are even better than the mystery… which is what I was hoping for.

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  4. Christine Goodnough

    This sounds like the great opening scene for a novel. Go for it! 🙂

    I agree with Marilyn; this sounds like family stuff, and a certain amount of either animosity or mental health issues. Maybe she’s bipolar and this is her down day? Maybe he’s bipolar and his “up” is driving her up the wall?
    I’d imagine if he were treating his housekeeper, she would appreciate his generosity and be willing to humor her boss with proper responses. But her paying puts paid to that…pardon the pun. Maybe he’s her employee — and she’s not happy with the job he’s doing? Her chauffeur — who she just discovered is having a fling with her best friend?
    I’d better quit now. 😉

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  5. lizMc

    Ok, I’ll play….The man is her priest/confessor/father. She’s a married woman who has some family problems, but money is not one of them. He hasn’t seen her in a while and she is a little embarrassed about that. So she arranged to take him to dinner at a fine restaurant–insisting that she pay. He tries to put her at ease by telling his stores, though he can see her mind is elsewhere. He loves her and knows better than to push her. She engages the wait staff, b/c she is a kind and pleasant person and doesn’t want to reveal her problems to strangers. Once the margarita kicks in she’s a bit more relaxed with her dinner companion. He knows her well–and shares her ‘sweet tooth’ and so suggests that she take the steak home and save room for the dessert. The intimacy of shared chocolate is a familiar gesture and it makes her feel better.

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  6. V.J. Knutson

    So fun! The meal sharing indicates intimacy – that kind of behaviour doesn’t occur with acquaintances. Her behaviour suggests submission, or a tiff. He’s trying to make it up to her? He’s not allowed to handle the finances because of a gambling problem and she’s punishing him by not conversing? I always think marrieds are easier to spot because they don’t talk much – at least not to each other. Maybe she went back to work?

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      Well, that’s an interesting take.. especially the reason they left separately. I love that people were as intrigued by this story as I was. Proves I’m not the only social detective on earth!!! Thanks, V.J.

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  7. Manja Mexi Movie

    I don’t know how intently you were gazing at them but if I was that woman and noticed you pay such close attention for so long, I’d surely approach your table and ask you what your current take of the situation was and whether you were listening in so that you could blog about it. And what exactly your connection is with your dining partner, come to think of it. Not so much fun being people-watched back, hm? 😉

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    1. lifelessons Post author

      Her side was to me and he never once looked up at me. He was intent on his own conversation and seemingly not too aware of her seeming disinterest. They were too far away for me to hear any of their conversation.

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      1. Manja Mexi Movie

        I usually pick up if somebody is watching what I’m doing and usually march right up to them and inquire. Maybe in Mexico it’s the norm. 😀 For some reason I side up with her in your story… Probably because she loved to eat.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. lifelessons Post author

    Very clever solution. She was Mexican and he was very Anglo so doesn’t seem likely, but it is a very good guess and it works on all fronts other than their not looking like they were related.

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