“I’ll be taking wonderful care of you tonight,” my waiter said as he opened his notepad and readied his pen. My order was simple: water, lobster bisque, and biscuits. He dashed off to the kitchen, his feet almost as quick as his speech.
Alone with my thoughts, I took in my surroundings: the soft thump, thump, thump of the base drum on the radio, the low lighting creating an air of privacy, the Canadian man sitting behind me talking about his trip to Florida. A baby cried in an adjacent room. Nearby, some servers gathered around one of the cash registers to share a joke. I wondered if anyone would find it strange for a woman to eat dinner alone in a restaurant, but it didn’t seem to matter.
Wearing my new (to me) sweater and sporting a fresh haircut, I figured tonight was as much a night as any to celebrate. It had been awhile since I’d taken myself “out on a date,” and the gift card I had received gave me the perfect opportunity to do so. I would not look at my phone tonight. Instead, I savored the environment – the mainstream, commercialized bistro I had learned to love from childhood – and drew comfort from its familiarity. I basked in gratefulness for the beauty of these moments, moments I hadn’t experienced in a long time.
I had lost sight of something. Of myself. I had forgotten how nice it felt to do something special – by myself. Here, now, I could be fully present, and present I was – well, at least until I realized I had almost finished my soup. It was so good I nearly forgot to enjoy it. The bisque tasted like the sea and like a warm hug all at once, and the cheesy, buttery biscuits melted in my mouth.
I thought about how I had no one to talk to there, but I didn’t mind. My soul was content to rest and reflect and simply be, without having to focus on conversation. Sometimes loneliness is a beautiful thing.
The waiter gave me a small bag to pack up the extra biscuits; I gave him an extra tip for his sweet demeanor. My spirit was overflowing with joy from being fully alive and fully myself. It really was a quick supper – I was in and out in under and hour – but my heart was full. And so was my belly.