November 16, 2011

a lady eating soup

I am sitting in a big comfy chair in the corner, happily bouncing my feet to the bluegrass pouring from my headphones, indulging myself with some adolescent literature. I look up for a second, only for a second, to see if they've refreshed the coffee yet, and I see you. You, a lady eating soup. You catch my eye.

There you sit, in a booth all alone, slurping soup in slow, deliberate spoonfuls. Daintily dipping your baguette, when the mood strikes. You don't speak. You don't have any company, today, as you eat soup in the afternoontime. You don't read a book or listen to music or even really look around much. You just eat soup. Legs folded neatly under the table, cups and bowls and utensils lined meticulously in front of you, napkin gently resting on your lap, you eat soup. You are still.

At first you make me sad. I think, oh, how sad, to eat alone. How upsetting, to have nothing to do while you eat your soup. But I realize upon further study that the sadness is mine - I don't think you are sad at all. The discomfort is my own, it must be, because I think you are content. I think you are peaceful and graceful and lovely in your Reebok sneakers and sky blue sweatshirt. Your hair is unruly and your eyes are soulful and your skin is wrinkled in ways that let me know you've lived and loved and laughed in your lifetime. Maybe even just today, right before you came here to eat soup. I wonder if that's what you're thinking of now. Or if you're thinking of anything at all.

And I think, I could learn something from you. I could stand a lesson in stillness, in contentment, in grace. I bet you play bridge with your friends and laugh until you cry, sometimes, but today you are just taking a moment to eat soup. By yourself. At 4:00 in the afternoon on a Wednesday in an unseasonably warm November. And you seem to be just fine with that.

I watch as you don your jacket, probably the same one you've worn for years, gather up your things, and shuffle out of the place. I think a little thank you to you, the lady eating soup, and then I return my gaze to my book. My feet pick back up with the rhythm of bluegrass, and I sigh a little sigh and sink a little further into my big comfy chair in the corner.

Just ever so slightly stiller than before.


sarahannnoel said...

What a writer.

Kara said...

This is so, so lovely, Goo! One of your best!