"Those two are a couple," the man whispered to his wife, rolling his eyes.
The said couple, both in their mid-40s, held hands across the table and exchanged sweet promises of eternal love while waiting for their food.
The restaurant was packed and no one paid attention to anyone else, but to the ones populating their own tables. Families of six, families of four, and families of all sizes, colors and shapes, probably of all religions or none at all, filled the air with the enthusiastic thrill and shrill of vacation time. The hustle and bustle of dinner provided the perfect cover for an indiscreet conversation.
"Who?" asked the wife, turning around.
"Annie, please, don't!"
Annie, a stout woman of stubborn demeanor, paid no attention to her husband and turned around to check the said couple.
"Oh, my. They are men, Larry!"
By then, despite the cacophony in the air, the guys knew that they were the center of attention of the middle-aged couple, whose almost pathetic surprise turned into a juvenile embarrassment when the guys waved and said hello.
"Why don't you join us," invited one of them, gently tapping the empty chair next to him.
Annie, who was dying to show the gay couple the right path in life, stood up and waved an enthusiastic acceptance, much to the horror of her husband.
"Come on," she said. Larry agreed sheepishly, knowing that it was useless to contradict his wife, a lesson learned the hard way over the course of a few decades, three children, several dogs and a mother-in-law.
"Hello there! My name is Annie and this is my husband, Larry," she said, stressing the word husband.
"Oh, hi! My name is Peter and this is my husband, Tony," said Peter amused, stressing the word husband too. "It seems we both have husbands!"
Annie settled in her chair, trying to find a comfortable position from where she could throw her unending knowledge at the gay couple.
"So I see, so I see," she said, finding consolation in repetition. "But you're not really married, are you,?"
The guys smiled.
Larry violently chewed the nail of his thumb, regretting the lapse of attention on his part when he fatally decided to make the irrelevant comment that triggered this unexpected situation.
"Yes, we are! Married, papers signed and all."
"You should get yourselves some nice women instead," ventured Annie.
"And you should get yourself a nice woman too. No demerit to Larry, of course!" said Peter.
"My husband is only joking, of course," added Tony, when Annie opened her mouth to start a diatribe about right and wrong.
The conversation progressed as irrationally as it had started. The food came to the shared table and it was utterly delicious. They chatted throughout the rest of the evening. The guys lived in the same town as Annie and Larry. They shared how they met, how they fell in love, and their long life plans for adopting a child or even two as a celebration of this relationship of several decades.
After all, it was not much different than his own with Annie, minus the three children, the dogs and the mother-in-law, thought Larry.
Each in a different way, Annie talking and Larry listening, both realized that there was no right way or wrong way.
The night ended with Annie making heartfelt promises to become the godmother of the guys' kids for life and beyond and Larry their generous though silent godfather.
After dinner, phone numbers were exchanged and the two couples parted ways.
A lot had changed in the universe. What was once a certainty was now nothing more than a distant, incoherent, idiotic notion.
"I'll invite them over for lunch next weekend," said Annie.
Larry smiled. The irrelevant comment had proven to be, though accidentally, quite relevant after all.