West Side Story by
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West Side Story

One wintry afternoon feeling chilled I stopped at an upper-westside cafe.  I asked for a cup of tea and drinking it I overheard an attractive older woman at the next table tell the waiter someone was meeting her.

She was looking toward the door when a handsome gray-haired man entered,  glanced around the room,  and approached her table.  She rose and there in the middle of that small cafe they embraced and kissed,  and for those brief moments seemed oblivious to all around them.

Then they sat,  their hands touching on the small table as they talked,  and then ordered food and ate.  But seemingly pressed for time,  the man soon called for the bill,  paid the waiter,  and then rose to go.  The woman stood and they embraced once more,  and the man walked towards the door.

She watched him go and then put on her coat,  and I saw her gently touch the back of his empty chair before she too left the restaurant.

Through the window I watched her hurry down the street and disappear into the late afternoon,  upper Broadway crowd – leaving me to wonder how their star-crossed story would end.

Dana Susan Lehrman

Profile photo of Dana Susan Lehrman Dana Susan Lehrman
This retired librarian loves big city bustle and cozy country weekends, friends and family, good books and theatre, movies and jazz, travel, tennis, Yankee baseball, and writing about life as she sees it on her blog World Thru Brown Eyes!

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Characterizations: , been there, moving, right on!, well written


  1. Suzy says:

    This is a lovely vignette, Dana. Of course you leave us wanting to know more, but we never will. Unless you decide to make up a whole life for these two people.

  2. I was kind of wishing you would make up an elaborate story, as Suzy implied. I will have to search my own imagination for an ending. Nice piece of observational fiction.

  3. Betsy Pfau says:

    This feels like a scene from a movie, Dana. Without context, we share your sweet, almost rueful observation and are left wanting more (as the other commenters say). Like “Brief Interlude”, it feels like a stolen moment. You have captured your lovers well.

  4. pattyv says:

    Dana, I SO love this story…it really is a poem. You captured the love between this man and woman so vividly, I felt as if I were there with you, witnessing this. Seriously, I am left with wondering who they were, especially to each other. I actually think I’ll be thinking about it a lot today. Such an intriguing little tale.

  5. Dave Ventre says:

    Such a sad and beautiful little tale! I also find myself trying to write the next chapter in my head (as well as the backstory) but it doesn’t come out happily ever after. This has “the one that got away” written all over it.

  6. Jim Willis says:

    Somehow I missed this sweet read the first time around, Dana, but I’m glad I caught it this time. It bespeaks one of those moments when people watching — whether intentional or accidental — pays off. And, for a writer, it sends the mind down a what-if path toward what could be a very interesting book.

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