There are two people who I see in the mall almost every day I work. I don’t know their names, so I’ll call them Betty and Bob. It’s hard to tell if Betty and Bob have a romantic relationship, if they are friends, or if they are mother and son (Betty is at least 20 years Bob’s senior). I’m certain they are either a match made in heaven, blood relatives, or both, because they each have similar characteristics that would be considered unique in most circumstances. The both have slightly crossed eyes; both are significantly overweight, and both wear similar mismatched sweat suits everyday.
Bob has a pageboy haircut that looks like Betty did it for him with an electric hedge trimmer. Betty’s hair is chin-length and gray. She usually wears it down, but today it is up in a tight bun atop her head. It kind of looks like a shiny grey biscuit. I’m not sure either of them has washed their hair. Ever.
Betty and Bob always eat lunch from Chick-Fil-A at a table right outside my door, which is what they’re doing right now. They always begin their meal with friendly conversation, and typically end it in a screaming match. Betty usually cries as soon as Bob yells at her, but she screams right back at him through her haze of tears. There are times when I watch them fight, and marvel at the fury pouring out of these two dimwits who appeared to be friends just a few moments prior to the emotional explosion.
But for now, they are happy. Betty is telling Bob about a dog she petted in the parking lot at the grocery store this morning. She seems to be oblivious to the glob of mayonnaise that is clinging to her chin hairs, threatening to drop and soil the front of her dirty fuchsia Hanes Her Way sweatshirt. Bob is too focused on his Icee to tell his companion about the condiment on her chin. This is sweet, in a way, because it would likely embarrass Betty if Bob pointed that out to her. Just like it would have embarrassed Bob if Betty had said anything when Bob misaimed the straw on his Icee and crammed it up his nose.
Today, Betty and Bob only had a small tiff, which is disappointing. Betty purchased an extra order of fries to take home, and asked Bob to put them in their sack from K-Mart for her.
“I told you, I’m not your freakin’ slave!” was his reply. He shoved the bag across the table in her direction. “Do it fer yourself.”
Betty complied, and it was over. They got up and left their table, leaving me to ponder how strange some relationships can be. How much love can Betty have for Bob to put up with that kind of talk? Of course, there’s always the fact that she dishes as much as she takes to consider. Maybe Betty and Bob think it’s better to be around anybody at all, rather than risk being alone.