Uneaten Pasta

Uneaten Pasta

Uneaten Pasta

Abby Ruscoe

¨Those who forget the pasta are condemned to reheat¨ ~unknown author 

We sat at the booth of the Olive Garden in the right back corner. It was decently busy for a Tuesday night, but our corner near the windows was desolate.  I sat on my side of the booth, anticipating the waiter coming over to take our drink orders. When the teenage girl with a name tag that read “Elizabeth” came over and greeted us chipperly, I put in my usual order for a glass of red wine and looked over waiting for him to do the same. This time was different though, he just asked for water. 

“Why just the water?” I asked with confusion once our waitresses had walked away. 

Just not really feeling it today.” He mumbled.

I folded my hands in my lap out of minor embarrassment. Recently, I had sensed some change with him, with us. I’ve been trying to push it out best I could; filling in the gaps in conversations, planning extra days out, doing anything I could to erase the moments of nothingness. Nothing really stuck. I mean it would work for maybe a half an hour tops, then go right back to this. This cycle had been going on for a couple of weeks now and did not seem to be willing to break tonight. Elizabeth brought out our drinks and took our food order, the one unchanged thing tonight. We both get our normal chicken Alfredo. The tiny bit of normalcy calms me. I am relieved when she brings out the pasta because I can feel myself start to spiral out of hunger. I begin picking at my dinner and after a couple of minutes I realize he hasn’t even touched his food yet.

“What’s wrong?” I ask as I realize maybe the spiral wasn’t just from my lack of food. My appetite begins to drain away as I can see the gears in his mind turning. Eventually, they grind to a halt and he begins to speak.

“I don’t want to do this anymore, actually more like I can’t.” Is all he says before getting up and leaving? That’s all that happens. Just one simple sentence and he’s gone – literally, leaving me stranded at Olive Garden. I sit there frozen with shock until Elizabeth comes over and asks me if I want the bill. Reality sets in and I realize what just happened. He left me all alone at Olive Garden, with an unpaid bill, and two uneaten meals. Out of panic, I reply that I want the check, then storm to the bathroom with tears pricking my eyes. I can’t really think straight. After a couple of minutes to at least physically regroup, I walk back out to my table and pay the bill. I glance up and am reminded of the uneaten pasta, realizing I completely forgot about it. I don’t want to waste it. I guess I could reheat it tomorrow, but would the pain that got released the first time I ate it come back again to haunt me?