She sits down at a table set for four.
She is alone.
The host removes the remaining place settings to make it feel less lonely, but she feels perfectly in her place. Comfortable without an other.
The tables in the restaurant are close. She’s just half a foot from a man and woman drinking red wine. Whispering together in French. Their thoughts intertwined.
Without a partner, her thoughts are her own. She can look anywhere. She can stare out at the world.
She thinks about: her day with her friend, Alexandre, in the sun on the country roads of France; a companion from back home whom she has barely missed; the Peace and Quiet of late-night in the 10th arrondissement, where she had intentionally walked to reach this colorful establishment.
She looks down.
The menu is sunflower yellow and filled with pizzas, the first of its kind in a city of crepes.
She orders in English after first attempting in French, time and again forgetting how to say what is your favorite?
The truffle with mushrooms, replies the waitress, who sports cat-eye glasses and a Margarita Babes t-shirt. A shirt that says she belongs to the coolest Italian gang in Paris.
The girl takes herself out often, but not often enough. She retires her phone, her books, any form of familiarity or anything that takes her elsewhere. For all she wants is This Moment.
In this moment, she relaxes into the pink plush booth and looks upwards to catch a glimpse of herself in a mirror overhead. She looks cheerful, the dark under her eyes which she conceals back in New York nowhere to be found. Her face has healed from the accident. The bruises on her shoulder are gone. She is coming back to herself. She drinks her wine slowly while the couple keeps whispering.
No one notices her. She couldn’t be happier.
Her pizza arrives. Mushrooms layered on cheese shaved with truffle. A single basil leaf melts into it. She can’t remember the last time she had a wood-fired pizza in front of her, some days so obsessed with ‘being healthy’ she can barely stand it. Today she is at ease.
She cusps her hands around the ceramic plate and says a prayer for health, for solitude, for moments like this.
She brings the dough to her lips and closes her eyes.
Yes, for moments just like this.
@Big Love, Paris, France