The music plays faintly; innocently admist the floating flavors. Whispering conversations evolve together to form a sweet rhythm opposing the clashing cutlery. Chef s shout to catch the waiter s attentions, orders pasted to the wall like ugly swans in a beautiful pond. Dim lights glow like the moon, giving a subtropical moonlit effect.
At reception, which is also the bar, phones ring incessantly, but no-one answers. Barpeople scatter around, spilling and splashing drinks while plopping in the ice-cubes. The receptionist runs around trying to organize the tables as if her life depended on it, sprinting here, moving something there; it looks as if she is at every spot in the restaurant at once. The compliment book, protected by dust, hiding in the corner on a solitary stand contrasts with the glass complimentary sweet jar.
A large oak effect table sits uninhabited in the corner, eager for someone to dwell on it. Odd splotches of ketchup and knife scratches stain the table as if a battle wound. A lit candle in the middle of the table gradually burns the wick and melts the wax, giving off a succulent fresh-lemon scent. The old table creaks when the menus are put on the table with a thud. Worn and torn string wound in and out of the menu shows the manner in which it has been previously handled, crudely and without respect. Tissues folded in the starched fan shape never fail to amuse people, as to how they are folded in such perfection.
The table waiter starts to show signs of busyness, meals on the way. Hot plates burn the lamebrains who touch them and potatoes never cease to roll off. Silence hits the recipients of the meal, dazed at the thought of food as if they have never been fed for days. Table manners disembark. One starts eating like a dog through desperation, and there is always one that starts before the rest. Blobs of sauce ruin the attractive layout of food on the plate. Clash goes the cutlery as it is dropped on the floor, plop goes the sauce, hum goes the hungry eater while enjoying their meal and screech goes the chair as someone leaves for the toilet. The discordant rattle of the fork against the empty plate and the gurgle of the straw all coincide with the finishing comments about the meal. Plates are pushed forward and seats pushed back, as if the diner has just become ten times bigger. Waiters start to rush, but only hobble, now drained after a hard day s work.
Now, the restaurant is quiet, like a school just after closing. Candles have finished burning, and the smell of old food gains notoriety. The bill arrives, and the payer sighs. The small cheap plastic tub, with the dreaded piece of paper. Green sweeties in clear wrapping give some colour to the dull bill. Plastic cards, some glittery, some just plain, cover the cheap tub. Kids start to get inpatient after they have had their enjoyment and now want bed. Faces, once bright, are now getting faint after what would appear to be a tiring job, eating an excellent meal.