I’m at table by myself. Surrounded by tables of adorable couples.
I’m in a cute little Italian restaurant. On a covered patio surrounded by open air gating crawling with vines. It’s out of place here on the corner of downtown and college-town. My city is commonly called a small town with a big city feel. We’ve got a little bit of everything and yet never enough of anything.
I see each of the couples notice me. I can see the questions in their eyes. “Why is she alone?” “Is she ok?” “Should we feel bad for her?” “Are we rubbing it in that she’s alone by being so – together?”
I feel a little voyeuristic as I notice them back. Because after all I AM alone….so my current attention span is a little longer than theirs.
One couple is mostly quiet until they get through their first beer. They start with small exchanges about what they are going to order, how their food is, how work was today. They seem as happy and content in their quiet as they do in the chattiness that starts up. Like they’ve enjoyed many lovely dinners together and tonight is just another. They are comfortable with each other and I find them comforting.
Another couple is already a couple cocktails deep when I sit down. They are laughing. Leaning in to say things they don’t want the rest of us to hear in this relatively intimate atmosphere. Their giggles make me smile. (I try to hide it though because I don’t want them to think I’m laughing at them.) This inside joke they share feels adolescent. But they are clearly in their 40s or 50s. She has on a relatively conservative blue dress with open shoulders – a hint of what I perceive to be trendy for her (maybe even risque). He has on blue jeans and a collared checkered shirt. But it’s clearly been pressed. He reminds me of my Dad – there’s only so city a country boy can get no matter what the occasion. They appear to be on their way somewhere – or perhaps they came from somewhere – it’s hard to tell. What I can tell is they are having an absolutely fabulous time and I find that fabulous.
The last couple is giddy and new. Like teenagers only older. I could be wrong but I get the impression they have both been married before. She is in a tasteful but swanky black dress and clearly tipsy. He has on black slacks, nice shoes and a collared shirt. Fashionable. He seems but buzzed but stable. Clearly entertained by the woman he is entertaining. They have red wine and pose for selfies together. There is a local (classy) bum who wears a suit and travels the town selling roses at all the bars. He walks in and they buy 3. More selfies. They are Infatuated. Flirtatious. Seductive. They inspire me to always recreate those qualities with my husband.
And then there is me. I came here because my husband and I always forget about it when we are trying to think of where to go to eat. I came here because I LOVE tortellini. I came here because I can never turn down a great glass of wine. I came here because I knew there would be love to observe.
I came here alone because my husband is out of town and it’s exactly what I wanted to do. It’s not very often than I think about me – and ONLY me – completely guilt free.
And so I found beauty here. In the food. In the atmosphere. In various stages of love I got to witness.
And most of all – I found beauty in my own company. I’ve got good taste after all.
~Be Gentle. Be Beautiful. Embrace the Mess.