Monday, July 25, 2011

The Breakfast Club

Well, did you miss me?  Sorry I've been a little lax with the posts recently, but I have a REALLY good excuse.  I was preparing for, then actually taking part in our yearly pilgrimage to Key West!  Oh, how I love the Conch Republic!  Alan and I have vacationed there just about every July for the last ten years.  The place kinda gets under you skin, you know?

I've written about the Keys more than once in this blog, often mentioning my attraction to it's quirky, eclectic people, it's rich, storied history, it's free-roaming chickens and roosters, and it's nightly magical sunsets that would make even the most stringent atheist believe in God.  I can't seem to get enough of it.  This year's visit was no exception, and we've returned sun-kissed and key lime pie-filled!

But I must tell you, the last few years my Key West euphoria has been mixed with a little melancholy. The cute little motel in which we used to stay (cheap rates, small rooms, but a GREAT pool!) was purchased a few years back by the monstrous, big-name hotel next door.  They immediately flattened the structure and added on to their own behemoth building.  And just like that, another tiny part of Key West's charm was swallowed up.

But it's not necessarily the the little motel that I miss.  It's the mornings Alan and I spent enjoying breakfast on the patio of their sweet diner, located in front of the building.  It wasn't anything special, just your basic eggs and bacon kind of joint.  But sitting on that patio in the early morning, when the temperature was still tolerable and the bougainvillea was just beginning to sparkle under the morning sun, was priceless.  We'd watch the Key West citizens riding by on their bikes on their way to work, off to spend another day selling sea shells and straw hats to tourists.

But even the eggs and the view weren't my favorite part of our mornings on that patio.  It was the opportunity to watch them.  They were a sweet older retired couple, possibly in their late sixties, who ate breakfast together on that patio every morning.  They always sat at the same table, which was permanently saved for them with a sign that read, "Reserved for The Breakfast Club."

The two never had to place their order, because they ate the same thing every morning.  As soon as they sat down, the waiter would bring their steaming plates to the table with a "Good Morning!"  They'd turn and smile at him, return his greeting, and then ask him about how  things were going at his second job.  They'd have a brief conversation, then the waiter would drop the check on the table, give both their shoulders a squeeze, then leave with a "See you tomorrow morning!"

I don't know what it was about that couple that made me want to stare.  I think it was just the loveliness about them.  They would sit so contentedly with one another, two old souls that had shared a lifetime, and now didn't need to speak with words.  They'd eat quietly, holding hands, occasionally looking up to wave at familiar faces passing by.  When they did speak to each other, it was always done quietly, but with such loving looks on their faces. They always greeted Alan and I as we arrived on the patio, and even offered some suggestions for good places to eat and visit while we were on the island.

I found myself wanting to get up early every day of our vacation so I could be on that patio when The Breakfast Club would arrive.  I liked being near them, and imagining that someday Alan and I could still be that much in love.

I think about that couple every time we're back in Key West.  I wonder if they've found a new place to resume their Breakfast Club routine, and if they still sit and hold hands and smile at one another as sweetly as they did back then.  Oh, I hope so!

By the way, did I mention that this couple was two gay men?  Yes, this sweet, devoted senior couple enjoying their golden years in the company of their one true love was not a man and a woman.  This sweet, devoted, loving couple was two men.  See the difference?

Yeah, me neither...

Thanks for Reading!!