Alone Again. Naturally.

“It seems to me that there are more hearts
Broken in the world that can’t be mended
Left unattended
What do we do?
What do we do?”
“Alone Again Naturally” – Gilbert O’Sullivan

I’m sitting in a booth in SAMS American Eatery, watching the cable cars go by, drinking my Anchor Steam and waiting for my Bacon Mac & Cheese. George Harrison’s “Give Me Love” plays softly in the background and I watch umbrellas pop up like springtime flowers as it begins to rain out on the street.

I go back to the moment I walked in the door. It was hard to hear the word “one” come quietly out of my mouth when the waitress asked me how many tonight. Especially as she smiled and countered with “Just one?”.  Yes. Just one.

There was a time I wouldn’t have done this. I would have stayed in my room, ordered room service, ignoring the city full of life (and couples) just outside the walls of my hotel. But that time needs to be over.

It’s time to own my oneness. I chose it for God’s sake. Sometimes one IS a lonely number. And sometimes, it’s full of power and freedom and life. I think of all the people for whom one is not a choice they made. Maybe it was a choice someone else made for them. I think about how hard it must be for them to hear “just one?“.

A woman comes into the cozy diner alone, pushing a cart full of her belongings and wearing a bright yellow trash bag as a rain coat. The waitress greets her warmly; she is obviously a regular. The woman asks about the soup. And then she asks me if my dinner was good. I tell her it was wonderful.

The waitress asks if I am ready for my check. I say yes, and ask her to add the woman’s dinner bill to mine. The waitress smiles and whispers “thank you“. When she brings me my check, she smiles again and tells me she hopes I have a wonderful evening. As I leave, I tell the woman sipping her hot bowl of soup to stay dry tonight. She smiles and says she will.

Would it have been nice to have someone to share my Bacon Mac & Cheese and fork fight me over the last big chunk of bacon? Yes. But tonight it’s ok. It feels ok. And I’m not alone. Not really. “Waiting for a Girl Like You” by Foreigner is playing as I leave and I smile at my reflection in the window as I open the door and step out into the rain.

“And in my hour of need
I truly am, indeed
Alone again, naturally”

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