Dinner was quiet.
She sat sandwiched between Love and Hate.
Love was sleepy, practically falling asleep in his soup.
Hate was bored, clicking on her phone, her mp3 player, her digital camera.
Silence was filled by conversation of dolphins — the fish and the mammal — and tunas and salmon and whales from a crowded table nearby.
The waitress smiled from ear to ear as if her tip hopes depended on making Love and Hate happy with their companion or each other.
Hate ordered food she picked apart.
Love filled up on soup.
And in the middle she munched her tofu silently on the side of her mouth not in pain.
Funny that her tooth pain sat closest to Hate.
A new couple sat down to discuss whether it was polite to slurp in the waitress’s original country (if they could agree on what it was).
No one seemed to notice them except her, stuck between Love and Hate with no conversation of her own.
The marine wildlife discussion turned to farm animals and factory farming practices.
“I can’t hear this while I’m eating!” The woman with the massive plate of beef tataki.
Hate rolled her eyes at her disemboweled tempura roll and flicked pickled ginger at a far plate.
Love pushed his plate aside and yawned.
She hopes the check will arrive before she gets desperate enough to try her own conversation. The others are going so well.
She already feels like a failure with Hate.
Hate tries to start an argument, but gets cut off by Love.
The bill arrives and leaves with a pile of twenties.
She leaves, followed by Love and Hate.
The fish people continue to laugh about marine life. She wishes she were with them.