A Plate of Spaghetti
“No man is lonely while eating spaghetti.” – Robert Morley
The waiter raised his eyebrows, and the pen stilled over his order pad while he waited for an answer.
“No, there won’t be anyone joining me after all,” the man in the candy striped bow tie sighed. “It seems she had to stay late at work.”
“Very good, sir. What can I get for you? Our chef is featuring a very special clam sauce linguine this evening.” Again the eyebrows lifted to accent the question awaiting a response, relaxing for a moment until they furrowed in concentration to write:
“Spaghetti. I’ll just have the spaghetti with meat sauce.”
The pen lifted from the page and dropped to the waiter’s side. No need to write down such a simple request. “Very well, sir. I’ll be back shortly with your salad.” As the waiter hurried off to the kitchen, the bow tie sagged closer to the table. The man slouched deep into the chair and allowed himself one long and woeful exhalation. Deflating his lungs removed most of the energy from his spine, and his nose was seconds away from touching the napkin folded in front of him. He noticed how sharp the pressed folds appeared at such close range and how the weave of the linen was slubby upon careful examination. She would have loved everything about this place. These are the fanciest napkins I’ve ever seen. The thought of his missing date forced the last bit of air out of his body, and he paused before inhaling. For a moment he pondered never breathing again, but the small panic caused by lack of oxygen reminded him that it was just a date, after all, and he must breathe no matter how morose the situation. His shoulders straightened a tiny bit, and his bow tie peeked above the edge of the table for the first time since he ordered.
He realized for the first time that the maître de was staring in concern, so he offered a thin smile to the friendly round face and looked around the room, mapping all of the colors and shadows, taking in all of the bustling action around him. He had been so preoccupied waiting for his date that he had missed the crystal festooned chandeliers and the brilliant colors of the paintings. Light twinkled off the crystal wine glasses, and the fancy napkins formed swans settling on each empty table. Most of the swans had been put to use, as tables full of families, couples, and business deals came alive with the energy of words and laughter shared.
The bow tie returned to its rightful place as the man breathed in the joy surrounding him. There would be other dates. Someday. Tonight it was enough to enjoy the warmth of spaghetti and remember that his own family and friends would soften the blow of this dinner alone. He didn’t feel lonely as he watched the waiter darting between tables with the ease of a dancer, taking a final bow to set the plate of steaming spaghetti on the table. He felt the energy surging around the room enter his lungs as he inhaled the smell of garlic and meat and tomato sauce, and all felt right in the world for at least that one breath.
Zephaniah 3:17 NLT: “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with singing.”
I have said before that posting poetry often leaves me feeling exposed, but this feels even more naked than poetry.
*I do have better art photography skills than this, but I was lazy on this one and didn’t use the good camera or tripod or lights – that felt like more work than I wanted to do last night. I hereby promise to reshoot and repost a clean copy of this and to actually do the photography work on all future artwork I share.
Every time I stare in the mirror, I see the same face I’ve always seen:
Hazel eyes topped by dark brown brows, full lips,
Average nose with a chicken pox scar on the bridge,
High cheekbones- the right one with a little straight scar from a run-in with my grandmother’s coffee table.
No matter how much time passes, I feel I am peering into the same face.
I am me no matter how old I become.
I am in an instant thirty eight and twelve.
I wonder how that will feel with each passing decade.
Will I always just see me?
Or will I begin to see my age and my flaws first,
And myself last?
Long before I could imagine growing old,
I vowed to “age gracefully,” to let time fade my hair to gray and trace lines across my face.
I felt I would have earned those marks by a life lived fully.
Now that I look closer, I see that the creases around my eyes are growing deeper,
And the hair around my temples is showing more gray.
But I am not disappointed by these changes.
Each crease is a reminder of how often I smile and laugh.
Each new gray hair is an outward show of hard-earned experiential wisdom.
Each scar is a memory – my grandmother’s house, dance class as a little girl, homemade lasagna, pain I’ve overcome.
I see strength and grace and beauty and hope in every line and curve.
I see a child of God.
I am me, and I am enough.
From Psalm 116
Thoughts on Psalm 116:7, “Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.”
We have been in chaos.
I have been at war with you,
And I have won by shouting you down,
By declaring my desires are more important than your needs.
O my soul, I have wounded you.
I have arrogantly declared myself a king
And placed a throne where it did not belong
In the center of your heart.
My soul, I usurped your rightful King.
I sacrificed peace for anger, joy for pride,
And love for resentment.
I let the world carry my thoughts
And steal my heart for a time,
But soul, dear broken soul, no more.
In spite of my sin,
The Lord has lifted my head;
He has shown me truth and love
And filled my weary mind with his words.
O soul, your King is grace.
Come, dear soul, and drink
From God’s life-giving stream,
And feast on his bread of life and honeycombed wisdom.
Return to your rest, O soul.
I’ve laid down my burdens; I’ll fight you no more.
As I move forward with the blog, I am working to define a little bit of focus. I really enjoy poetry and painting and creative writing, but all of those things feel odd in view of what has been the focus of my blog writing. So, to solve that “problem,” I am instituting Freeform Fridays to share some of the other things I write. For a while that may just be poetry, but I will add in some of the micro fiction I’ve written for practice from prompts and hopefully some short stories and paintings or sketches. As soon as I work up the nerve to expose some of those things to the light of an audience… Also, if you have any suggestions for something you’d like to see more of or a direction you’d like to see explored, please leave me a comment.