Tableau 1: Sad Girl at Panera
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
remind her that he was never
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 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.