A Table Set For One
She sat there at her kitchen table –a table set for one– just like it’d been set for as many nights as she could remember at this point in time. She’d lost track of just how long she’d been single for this stretch. However, she knew the number could be marked down as a new record set.
Outside the air’s arctic chill was reveled as she placed her fingertips up to the window. A tactic that dates back to her childhood, as an ingenious trick she used every morning before school to see if a coat was needed or not. However, despite her natural meteorologist skill, or lack thereof, her mother wouldn’t let her leave the house without one either way. The days had been exceptionally cold, especially for March in Texas. There was no sign that spring was just around the corner. The trees lacked color, and the grass held the deathly undertones brought about by the winter months. No kids were in sight running, hopping, skipping, or bicycling down the street in great cheer, without any cares of the troubles of the world. No doubt they were all inside trying to keep as warm as possible. Yes, Hazelcrest Meadow Road was bleak and deserted, showing no indication of life. Kind of like a replica of her love life.
She took another sip of wine as her thoughts drifted back to a conversation she had with her best friends a couple of days ago. They’d kept their word in making it a point to have at least one girl’s outing a month. Despite busy schedules, needy children, co-dependent mothers, or in her case, anti-social behavior due to mild depression.
Picking at her salad with a fork she apparently had no plans of eating, the question her friend just asked swam around in her head desperately searching for a proper response suitable enough for the ears of the humans sitting before her.
As a defensive mechanism, or better yet, a way to buy her a few more moments, she asked, “huh?”
Her friend patiently repeated herself, only this time a little louder, “don’t you get lonely in that house all by yourself?”
Both of them have been in successful relationships for the past five years or so. In fact, another reason for their meeting up today was to discuss some wedding plans. Something that gave her that annoying bittersweet feeling in anticipation of the events to follow up until the big day.
She met her friend’s eye, and finally decided on an answer to the question, “I do get lonely, but the loneliness is not worth going backwards.”
Her other friend, who’d been oddly quiet this whole time asked, “what do you mean go backwards?”
“Meaning, I haven’t come across anyone to go forward with as of yet. So therefore the only other way besides standing still would be to go backwards.”, she replied.
“Have you heard from dummy?” Her quiet friend asked. The normal response would be to ask which one? But she knew exactly who was being referred.
“Just yesterday as a matter of fact”, she responded. A twinge of discomfort came over her. It was beyond time to leave and get back within the safe quarters of her empty home .
“This will be the year you find that person to go forward with. I’m sure of it! It’ll be your wedding we plan next. Just wait and see!” Her friend exclaimed with such positive glee, that she couldn’t stand to burst her bubble with cynicism. As they all sat there enjoying the rest of their girl’s day, her bones ached as if they knew they were out of place. She couldn’t wait to go home.
Another entire bottle of wine kicked as she sat there slightly nostalgic, and feeling the desperate need of temporary companionship. The vibrations of her ringing phone rattled the cutlery on the table. She glanced at that familiar face flashing on the screen of the phone, inviting her to give into those old desires. “…but the loneliness is not worth going backwards”, she spoke to herself aloud in remembrance, as she declined the call. Chalking this up to another small victory, she smiled and quietly finished dinner at her table set for one.
Written by Tamica Nicole © 2016
Photo Credit: Nature Morte Avec Bouteuille Et Carafe 1889-90 Edouard Vuillard