“Where do you want to eat?

“I don’t care. Something fairly quick.”


Amy hesitated a moment. She felt more like having a burger, but Scott liked Yoshi’s and she didn’t feel like going back and forth about it. “Sure.”

They pulled into the strip mall behind Costco to the small storefront restaurant. It wasn’t too busy, Amy noted, so maybe there wouldn’t be much of a wait. This new babysitter she and Scott were using seemed a little goofy, so Amy thought it might be better to make the evening a bit shorter. The bells on the door jingled as they stepped in, and the very smiley Japanese woman who seemed to live there greeted them and sat them at a table, Scott taking the booth side, Amy the chair. There were a few other couples there, talking and picking up colorful pieces of sushi with chopsticks, pouring out sake into the tiny cups.

“You need minute?” The smiley woman nodded, kept smiling.

“No. I’ll have the bento box and a water,” Scott said, glancing up at her.

Amy fumbled with the menu. “Can I have a second, please?” Scott frowned, and the woman began to leave. “No, wait, wait…that’s OK, I’ll have the Chef’s Choice sushi plate and the house sake. Thank you.” The woman nodded harder and smiled bigger and took the menus. She bounced back to the kitchen where Amy heard her speak in Japanese, a more commanding tone there.

“Why did you get the Chef’s Choice again? Half the stuff on there you don’t even like!” Scott sneered as he flattened his napkin on his lap.

“Because I like to see what he comes up with. That is worth it. It’s interesting to me. What is the difference?” Amy’s irritation grew as she looked at Scott, taking his three measured sips of his glass of water.

“It’s a waste of money.”

“Why do you get the bento box every time? Don’t you get tired of it? The same thing, every single time? Don’t you ever want to try something else?

“I like what I like. Why shouldn’t I eat what I like?”

The woman brought out Amy’s sake and poured it in the cup for her. Amy immediately picked it up and drank it down in one burning gulp, then poured another and drank that. She set the cup down, glared at Scott, then looked down at her hands. Alright, she thought, let’s not do this again. Calm down. This is so stupid. She said nothing for a minute or two, instead looking around at the pink neon “YOSHI’S” sign, a young couple texting at another table, and listened to the sounds of the chef chopping something behind the sushi bar.

“Olivia’s school meeting is Thursday. Did you put it on your calendar?

“I don’t know anything about it.” Scott pulled out his cell phone and opened Outlook, shaking his head.

“I told you about this more than a week ago. You’ve got to be there.”

“I have meetings all day. There’s no way.” He closed his phone with a snap and tightened his mouth.

“Great.” Amy poured another sake and set the cup down harder than necessary.

The food arrived. Scott and Amy both turned reflexively and smiled at the server, a teenage boy who nodded even more than the woman, and thanked him. Amy began to eat her elaborate pretty sushi rolls, pushing the octopus and the roe to the side. There he goes, she thought, everything in the bento box eaten in order: miso soup, then sunomono salad, then California roll, and finally teriyaki chicken and sticky rice, three sips of water in-between every few bites of food. God. Every. Single. Time. She ate a few more pieces of her sushi, but lost interest in the food. She pushed it around on the plate to make it look like she ate more, worth the money. She put down her chopsticks and fiddled with her hands in her lap while Scott finished his food.

At the California roll point, Scott looked up and spoke. “Martin Thompson?”

“Um…at your work? The tall guy with the beard?”

“Yeah. So, get this: he’s moving to Hawaii with a woman he met at the gym.”

“What?? Martin Thompson?? The shy Mormon who can barely look anyone in the eye? Get out!”

“Yeah, everyone thinks he’s lost his mind. He has lost his mind. It’s sure something. He’s babbling to anyone who will listen.”

“No shit! Wow. Ha. He is married, isn’t he?”

“Yup. Two kids too.”

“Whoa. That’s pretty much the last person I would have thought. What is his wife doing?”

“Wants them to go to counseling. I think he’s already booked his ticket to Maui. Ha.”



Amy looked down at her hands and realized she had taken off her wedding rings and had been rolling them around in her fingers. A moment of sadness came over her as she looked up again at Scott, now eating rice. He chewed, looked at her, and looked down again for a piece of chicken. Amy nervously put her rings on again as he wiped his mouth, then took a final three sips of water from his glass.

The smiley woman rushed by. “Could we get the check? Thanks,” Scott called after her, as she nodded. Amy stared past Scott to the ceramic smiling sushi cat sitting on the bar. The texting couple was smiling and laughing, another couple was smiling and sharing food from their plates, a Japanese model kept smiling down at them all from a Suntory beer poster on the far wall.

As they left the restaurant, the woman and the chef and the teenager all called out, “Thank you! Come again!” and Scott and Amy smiled, nodded, and waved as the bell on the door jingled again. A light rain was falling, making their car look shiny, new again.

“Hawaii,” Amy thought, “Wow…Hawaii,” and touched her rings with her right index finger, unaware of the gesture.