Losing appetite

Columns | Vienna Review | October 2009

Weekends are considered by many to be the best days of the week: no work, no school and no worries. With the sun shining into my apartment windows on the last days of summer, my boyfriend and I decided to take a walk through the centre of town and to our favorite little Italian restaurant with, in our opinion, the best lasagne.

Sitting down at our favourite place, under a large red and white umbrella, we ordered lasagna and a salad, while watching the people passing by and talking about the problems of the week. Little did we notice that our food was ready and floating towards us on a black tray carried by the waiter. Hungry as beasts, we dug into our mouth-watering meals. As I looked up, I noticed a homeless man approaching, causing me to place my bag on my lap, away from sticky hands.

The man stumbled over, the fresh air being instantly replaced by the stench of alcohol and dirty clothes, pointing a finger at us and mumbling something in a strange language. My boyfriend shook his head politely and told him that he sadly had no change, which for the homeless man was apparently not the correct answer. Grabbing a free chair, he pulled it over to our table and sat down with us, pointing his finger at the still warm lasagna. Paralysed from shock we asked him politely to go away, looking around for the waiter, who was serving lunch inside. Frustrated, the man took his dirty finger and shoved it deep into my boyfriend’s plate.

At that moment the waiter saw the scene, and rushed over. Grabbing the chair from underneath the man, he ordered the man to leave before the police arrived. The homeless man stumbled away.

As an apology, the waiter asked if we would like a new serving. We declined; suddenly we had lost all appetite…

Ksenia Kuvaeva

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    the vienna review October 2009