I met him at my cousin's wedding. There he was, standing at the edge of the dance floor beckoning to me. I walked across the floor not knowing what I would say.
"Chicken or beef?" He asked coyly.
"Both," I answered. "I like to live dangerously."
He swept me off my feet with offers of Chicken French, Prime Rib and Green Beans Almondine. He put me at ease with his subtle signs; "French" "Italian" "Bleu Cheese". I knew it was happening and I couldn't stop it. I was falling in love with the Buffet.
We spent the entire evening together. I never left his side. After his dazzling display of sweets from decadent cake to chocolate-covered strawberries, it was time to say goodnight. I didn't know if I would ever see him again, so I tucked a few pastries in my purse to remember our one amazing night together.
I thought about him quite often after that night, but I never heard from him until I went on vacation. I was traveling on a gorgeous cruise liner. I had just settled in my room and decided to explore the ship. I wandered into the dining room, and that's when I saw him, even more glorious than before. He stood in the center of the room and seemed to go on forever. He showed off with a six-foot display of crudites; an indescribeable display of pineapple, papaya and mango the likes of which I had never seen before and would never see again. We spent the entire week together. It was amazing.
I saw even more of him after the cruise. We would meet at different family restaurants around town. Each night he would have a different theme; American Fare, Chinese, seafood. One morning he surprised me with a breakfast buffet with sausage gravy and made-to-order omelets!
But soon, my friends started to notice a change in me. They said I was gaining weight and that he was no good for me. They told me to just back away. But I couldn't imagine my life without him.
And then one day it happened. I went to the Ponderosa to surprise him for an early dinner, and that's when I saw it. Another woman was standing with him. I watched in disbelief as she reached again and again for more chicken fried steak and steaming hot mashed potatoes. My heart was breaking. But then came the unforgivable. She leaned UNDERNEATH the sneeze guard. My heart went from broken to shattered. I ran from the restaurant and never turned back.
It's been several years. I still run into him occasionally at some weddings or extravagant business meetings. I nod politely from across the room, but we're through.