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Tableau 1: Sad Girl at Panera

July 23, 2011

She still frequents the places

they went together,

once upon a time,

but she can’t bring herself to order

what she ordered with him –

instead she’s drinking

 unsweetened iced tea

made murky with lemons

and sweetener that doesn’t quite mix all the way in,

no matter how much she stirs.

She sits in a small booth,

not their favorite corner booth,

you know the one –

She eats her breakfast, surrounded by someone else’s newspaper

reading a book as fast as she can,

leaving before she finishes it,

before bagels turn to salads

before breakfast fades to lunch.

Before the silence breaks her,

before the memories of him not

quite

touching her

remind her that he was never

truly hers,

before she thinks too hard

about the loss of someone

she never even had.

Before she wonders too much

if one person

can ever really hold another,

if love is a choice or an act or a feeling

or something more or something less

or everything

or nothing at all.

***

Inspiration is everywhere if you look hard enough. People have stories, and I’m challenging myself to figure them out. Thus a new thing is born – The Tableaux Series – feeding both my benign voyeurism and my creative spark. I hope.

Who knows, this girl could have been sad because she lost her job or her dog died or she didn’t get in grad school. But her sadness was palpable, and the way she kept checking her phone made me think  it was a man that brought her sadness, served it up like a snack on his way out the door to something else.

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