table for one
I wanted to go and so I did - I jumped on a bus and off I went. It was a pleasant ride, the bus humming along smoothly, passing through stretches flanked by forests, where the trees softened the harsh tropical light, reminding me of light under water: luminous, ever-changing, impossible to hold on to. When I arrive at the café I order quickly, easily because I came driven by a clear, unshakable impulse, and settle down.
I am surrounded by people, conversation, snatches of laughter, the clinking of glasses and cutlery; everyone gathered to surrender themselves to two of life's greatest pleasures - food and company. But today I have no need for anyone; all week I have been longing to steal away, to go somewhere where my voice, my thoughts are not needed, and I listen hard to no one but myself.
I dine alone often during the work week - a hurried bite on the go, my mind distracted by work. But every now and then, when my time is truly my own, I snatch up the chance to literally make a meal out of it. Sometimes I bring a book, a magazine, or a newspaper to savour while I enjoy a coffee and something delicious and baked and buttery and sweet. Sometimes it's a proper meal that requires my full attention, from the soup to start to the espresso to finish. Either way, I enjoy the solitude amid a room full of people, where I am free to observe and imagine. I am invisible to others perhaps, but alone, I feel vivid and present, free to gather my thoughts, reflect and feel myself again.
A feast with the people you love is nourishing; but a solitary meal heals. I could not do without one or the other.