We left Fran’s at around 1:15 that Saturday. First thing we did on Saturdays, right after waking up late from staying up late watching movies and drinking forties, was breakfast at Dan’s or Fran’s, nevermind it was clear into lunchtime.
Dan and Fran were married for about 30 years and opened a modest chain of restaurants aptly named after Dan. Towards the tail-end of the marriage Fran was consumed with their growing popularity and began caring about things she never thought of before, like introducing herself to the town’s civic leaders, becoming part of the welcoming committee, and sponsoring a float in the county fair parade each year. The float itself took an immense amount of planning– the day after the parade, a meeting was held to discuss ideas for the next year’s concept. Dan was a low-key sort of guy and if he didn’t go to all the social events with Fran he never saw her, and she didn’t seem to miss him.
“If you really wanted to spend time with me, you coulda come to the charity bake sale last night! In fact, I asked you to come and bring the napkins I forgot, and you refused. By the way– we owe Natalie $3 for napkins. Can you pay her the next time you see her?”
There was a cook at Dan’s that was friendly enough; she didn’t talk much and it didn’t really matter. Dan spent more and more time at work– he didn’t want to come home to an empty house. Soon he announced that Dan’s would be open until midnight, every night.
Cook and Dan were cleaning up on the first night with new hours, and they were awake with excitement over the crowds– it was immediately popular with high school and young college crowds who were under 21, and hamburger buns ran out.
“Imagine that!” Cook said. “Too bad Fran wasn’t here to see it.”
The next morning, Dan woke up with the intention to tell Fran that he was leaving her. She was already gone to a meeting. He called her and asked her to come home now– that it was urgent, they needed to talk, it was serious.
“Just write it on a note and stick it on the fridge, or something. I’ve got to go!” And she hung up.
The only thing Fran wanted during the divorce was half the chain. Half! She never cared before about the restaurants! It was all about her– all her activities, her status in the community– her important meetings.
Fran’s Dan’s were renamed Fran’s.
We didn’t care where we ended up. Menu was the same, prices were the same. We just went to whichever was closest to where we woke up.