FF – Empty Chairs

Photo copyright Brenda Cox

Empty Chairs at Empty Tables

We giggle and order everything we’ve dreamed about for months – it’s a good feeling to be out together again.

At the next table, the man tells the waitress to remove her mask, says he’d rather die than wear one. He gets angry when she refuses, starts shouting about infringement of liberty.

An older lady approaches from where she was sitting alone. She’s a full foot smaller than him but there’s strength in her eyes.

“A little more caution might have meant my husband was with me today,” she says. “Is a mask a greater infringement of liberty than death?”


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31 responses to “FF – Empty Chairs

  1. Powerfully written, Elmo. And it is indeed a good feeling to be out together again.

  2. A nice story, well done, Elmo.

  3. I read your post as I try to set up lunch with a friend I’ve not seen in almost two years. Good on the older lady. Such a lack of respect from some people… Well done!

  4. Questions that need to be asked and answered.


  5. The character reminds me of my husband’s Italian nana. I was cheering for her, but felt very sad at the same time. The title is perfect. Even more, I don’t understand the anger. Very well done!

  6. Dear Jen,

    A good question she asks. I’ve gotten so sick of people acting like the mask is an infringement on their “freedom.” What about my right to stay healthy. While I’m grateful for the vaccines and things opening up, I won’t hesitate to wear a mask where requested. As a common courtesy. (Oh wait…courtesy isn’t all that common any more, is it?” Good story. As you can see it got my dander up. 😉



    • LOL, apologies for the dander, Rochelle. I’m afraid common courtesy is right up there with common sense. There are a lot of things that have infringed our liberties, for me the hardest is my kids’ right to education and even more basic, to play.
      But wearing a mask? I’d wear full hazmat and a chicken suit for the rest of time to get the other things back.

  7. to wear or not to wear a mask. it has been politicized to the point that it’s no longer a health concern for some folks.

  8. Great story, and very sad and points out the idiocy of the mask-refusers perfectly. Sadly they are everywhere.

  9. michael1148humphris

    Masks still many do not know how to use them correctly, All in all, humanity is in a bad place at present

  10. Ouch! An excellent point very well made.

  11. Responsibility towards other people is the true meaning of liberty.
    There are others who seem to think that liberty means doing what they want you to do, odd really. The new wake of so called woke/pc tends towards double standards, if only they would listen to themselves….

  12. Great build up to a powerful end. Well done that lady.

  13. Agree or not, she certainly put her point across strongly. I’m sure many a scene similar to this has been played out of late. Hopefully, in three and a bit week’s time we won’t have to wear them here, and I for one can’t wait to bin them!

    Here’s mine!

  14. Early on in the Covid times, I heard an article on NPR that said men were asking waitresses to take off their masks so they could see if they were pretty or not. So bad! You caught that in your story.

  15. I felt both outrage and satisfaction reading your story. The mask debate has certainly been a polarising factor, even in my own family. Good one, Jen.

  16. The guy that wouldn’t wear a mask probably refused to be vaccinated too. There are far too many misguided/foolishly-stubborn people out there.

  17. So true. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Such a cautionary tale, Elmo. Great take.

  18. Pingback: FF – Empty Chairs #2 | elmowrites

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