The waiter brings menus. I’m not interested in food; I just like watching you. A lock of hair escapes its silver clasp. You dreamily twirl it around one finger. You get ten points for sheer elegance.

“You haven’t changed a bit, Laura,” I tell you. Terrible opening. I deduct five points from my score for lack of originality. Starting off in the hole. “Except for the pierced ears.” I redeem myself, bringing my points back to zero.

You look startled. Your left hand inadvertently touches an opal earring.

“Your birthstone,” I state as if I actually knew. You nod, impressed. You always had a penchant for zodiac signs, and a fondness for opals. I finally put two and two together. Lucky guess, perhaps. I prefer to think of it as inspired. I proudly bump my count up to ten.

“What a creative menu,” I observe. “Asparagus, avocado and lime soup.” Sounds like you. “Still a vegetarian?” You smile your acknowledgement. More points for me. The count is getting high; I need to record it. I surreptitiously pull up the calculator on my phone and enter scores. You frown and stare suspiciously.

“Just checking on Mom. She’s not been well lately.” You always hated my score-keeping, but soften after the lie about my mother. Three points for me.

You seem pleased with your triple-green soup. I’m loving my braised salmon. “Waiter, bring us some flowers,” I call out on a whim. He brings yellow roses. You shake your head. “Take them away,” I amend. Minus three. Forget roses.

“How’s Adam?” Your gesture says he’s history. Excellent. Adam’s out, I’ll soon be back in.

After the pear sorbet, I signal the waiter. “Check, please. And reserve us this same table for Monday.”

“No thanks!” Self-possessed, sweet, always the perfect lady. “You and your silly scoring system. You also haven’t changed a bit. We’re divorced, Jim, remember?” You sail out, but I’m not worried. You get ten points for poise.

“On Monday, red dahlias for our table,” I tell the waiter. Unusual. Out of season. Twenty points.

You’ll come. I’m sure of it.

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Juma
Juma (@juma)
14 days ago

Jim is a bit strange, isn’t he, Fuji? I do like the food they are eating! And I’d love to have a bouquet of red dahlias in the winter. The touch of holly berries in the picture is especially nice.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
10 days ago

Jim is funny with his scoring system. Honestly, if I were Laura, I would be disappointed if I had that kind of date. But to have a bouquet of red dahlias is 100 points for me. This story is so entertaining, Fuji. Well done.

Melissa Taggart
Melissa Taggart (@melissa-taggart)
8 days ago

I really enjoyed Jim, Fuji. His point system is quite entertaining! It makes one wonder if this is why he is divorced because it may explain a thing or two. 😆 

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Melissa Taggart
Melissa Taggart (@melissa-taggart)
8 days ago
Reply to  Fuji

How interesting, Fuji. I could definitely see this as off putting. I guess some people would view this behaviour as quirky or endearing but my brain isn’t quite wired that way! I wouldn’t know how to take it, and would be quite confused. Words work best I think! I like how this was based on your friend. Jim sort of seems autistic or even “on the spectrum”. My daughter is, and she doesn’t really adhere to social norms. To neurotypicals, the things she does may even seem odd. But the more I read this story the more I see Jim in another light! People express their love languages in different ways and that is perfectly fine. I suppose Jim is just being himself after all.

Last edited 8 days ago by Melissa Taggart
Susan Dawson
Susan Dawson (@susan-dawson)
5 days ago

Oh no. I just read the comments below. I once created a portrait of my granddaughter on the computer using only 1s and 0s. Admittedly, it was after a photoshop course. So,10 points for your excellent story.

Linda Rock
Linda Rock (@linda-rock)
5 days ago

It seems obvious to me that Laura divorced Jim because of his point-scoring and who can blame her! But poor Jim can’t seem to help himself. It’s like he’s having a silent argument with her, always seeking to come out on top. Really cleverly written Fuji and such an interesting read.

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Linda Rock
Linda Rock (@linda-rock)
5 days ago
Reply to  Fuji

Oh, how did I miss that Fuji? Yes, he gives her 10 points for poise, dismissing her words completely and deducting zero points! I just checked the menu out, the selection is almost as mind-blowing as the prices! I’d love to visit San Francisco and, if I ever win the lottery, enjoy lunch at Acquerello. Perhaps you can join me.  😀 

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
2 days ago

8 points to Jim for his optimism and attempts to win back his ex-wife! And 5 points for inviting her to a fancy, expensive restaurant like Acquerello, although he’s not interested in food. But many, many more points to you, Fuji, for this amazing story of the couple’s meeting and for revealing his thoughts to us! I love it! It’s one of your best stories! And now, I’ll have to go back and re-read all of your wonderful stories with a calculator next to me. 😂

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Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
1 day ago
Reply to  Fuji

Thank you for revealing the inspiration of your story, Fuji. I looked it up, and found “Song of Lunch” as you describe it on YouTube. It’s a brilliant piece and I would like to recommend it to other members of our family. It’s accessible at https://youtu.be/h7nnGbbefuo
Thanks also for the 50 points!

Editor’s note: We tried the link Christer listed and it’s blocked in the USA, for copyright reasons. We found the entire film on Amazon Prime, if any of you have Prime Video.

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
1 day ago

I guess I’m lucky to be in Colombia in this case. I even found it at a second YouTube link: https://youtu.be/677k4Ze8ko8
Probably, this one is also blocked for the USA, but it could be worth trying for those who don’t have Prime Video.

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