Fruits de Mare
From The Minerva Book of Short Stories I, edited by Giles Gordon and David Hughes (1988). Fruits de Mare was originally published in the London Magazine in 1986. Ronald Frame writes novels, plays and short stories and is from Glasgow.
Set in a restaurant where the only things that define it are an aged mirror on the wall and the fact that it serves seafood almost exclusively, we are not even told whether the restaurant is close to the coast. The fish on the menu is a device and forms part of the backdrop to a series of vignettes about the various diners, all couples, but all in different combinations: a pair of lovers, a business man and his afternoon’s plaything, a divorced couple, a grandmother and grandson, a step mother and stepson. The story is about getting below the conversations of others and working out their stories. This is done through the eyes of the narrator, the only diner who is eating alone.