“You don’t drown by falling in the water; you drown by staying there.”
~ Edwin Louis Cole
I take an overly ambitious bite of my piping hot fish sandwich before it hits me.
Swirling the overheated flesh hurriedly around my mouth, in a vain – and ultimately unsuccessful – effort to cool it off; I look around to make sure no one is witnessing my faux pas, when all of a sudden it strikes. The observation that within the central section of this particular Burger King, couples are seated on the hard plastic seats, with all of them smiling and carrying on, regardless of their backside’s discomfort or protest. Couples of all shapes, sizes and ages, mulching through their fast food while leisurely enjoying each other’s company. Scanning the perimeter, I then take notice that these couples are seemingly surrounded by people of a most decidedly “singular” nature.
People that are alone.
It strikes me odd that those who “have each other” are encircled – in a sort of “round-up the wagons, boys!” style I suppose – by those who do not. The couples touched by love are surrounded by the untouchables. Or the untouched, if you will. And of the untouched, I find myself to be one.
One with a slightly burnt roof, resulting from the aggressively nuked fish, of course.
I look again at these centralized people, and unlike other couples that I’ve seen before at other locales who simply stare through each other, sharing only the bill; each and every one of these love-duets seems to share a life. A hope, a joy, a smile, a whatever-you-wish-to-call-it, that you notice about them. The point is, they are sharing Who They Are with someone Who Cares To Know. We on the perimeter however, are simply sharing our silence as we stare blankly into our phone screens, hoping that the food will go down easily, and the time will pass swiftly.
I find myself a touch jealous of these couples, although they be seemingly trapped unawares by the untouched, during their hand-held fast food lovefest excursion. I mean, it’s my thing, right? To long for that which I thought I had (but maybe didn’t) and still, on occasion desire to have again (though I don’t really know if it even actually exists at this point, outside of dime store romance novels) in some form or fashion, and with the elusive “someone special,” in order to – I think? – set my heart at ease.
The idea… the thought, brings me to tears (again, it IS my thing after all), and I shove every last fucking bite of that damned fish sandwich, one crafted with far too little tartar and way too much iceberg lettuce mind you, into my cake-hole as I try to fill my belly and still get back to work on time.
I do, by the way, and afterwards my day simply goes on. And I go on. And the jealousy that I feel decreases none (well, OK, a little), and the aloneness that I feel stays at a similar-to exact level as well.
A sad story, right? Pathetic. But one that is not exactly true.
You see, my feeling of aloneness only hung about until I became distracted by the prospect of the movie I was going to see that evening with my friend (“The Day Of The Doctor” in 3D, if you must really know, and YES, it was totally worth the price of admission AND having to sit in the front row so that we could all be seated together), and I was distracted further still when other friends touched base simply to see how I was and/or to fill me in on how their days were going. Laughing along the way as one auto-correct took “for school” and mis-diligently translated it to “fur school” (a phrase which abounds with a plethora of definitions, as it turns out.)
But that’s not the point though. The point is that I realized in the course of my afternoon that I am about as “alone” as Jesus was, the time that He happened upon 5,000 spare loaves of bread.
And for that, I am thankful. I am enveloped (because “shrouded” sounded a little too cocky) with a net of love that would not even be possible to enjoy to its fullest, if I was still “coupled.” I am still untouched, that’s true. But in all honesty, I think that that’s OK for now, as I’m still what I would consider relationshipinal “damaged goods” anyway. And while I loathe the prospect of being like the one older gentlemen I saw on the perimeter – so angrily alone that even Death wouldn’t be seen with him – until such time as the “right one” comes along, should they ever, I think I’ll be just fine.
Better than fine, in fact. Thankful.
I’ll be thankful for the friendships I have and can now enjoy, and thankful for the friendships to come – including those of my soon-to be adult children, and those that might have never been possible without my new-found freedom. In short, I’ll be thankful for what I have been blessed with, instead of jealous of those who might have something different.
And the next time I partake in a piping hot fish sandwich, I’ll be especially thankful if I can just remember to let the damned thing cool down a bit first…
Happy Thanksgiving, my friends.