Mr. Rochester

old man sitting in empty restaurant

I don’t know his name
But just suppose it’s Mr. Rochester
Doesn’t hide his melancholy from the world.

I meet his appraising gaze
Over the cash register.
“Aren’t you going to seat me?”
His cane hits the counter.

I smile unnecessarily
For the brightness of my countenance is lost
On its wretched observer.
“Right away, sir.”
Normal seat at booth five
Where he has the restaurant under surveillance.

I help remove his sweater and tuck away his cane.
As if I have forgotten.
I flee his scathing presence but return
To serve the coffee.
“Where’s my cream and sugar?”
“In front of you, sir.” Then, “As always.”
I add the last
Not to spite him,
But to pacify my own irritation.

(I wrote this narrative free verse years ago while working at a restaurant. I stumbled across it the other day and started to laugh. I think there was more than one Mr. Rochester during my years in the restaurant industry!)

Photo by Colin Maynard on Unsplash

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