Dining Alone

Darius sat at a small round table. He lifted the strap of his satchel over his head to set the bag on the ground, and then folded his hands.

A waiter came over and said, “Waiting for another, sir?”

“No,” Darius said. “Just me.”

“Oh, okay. I’m sorry about that, let me get you a menu.” The waiter walked to the cash, and returned with one menu. “Anything to drink sir?”

“Coffee, please,” Darius said, then looked at the menu as the waiter walked away. He flipped the page, but saw only lunch and dinner options, so he returned to the breakfast side and made his choice.

It was ten minutes before the waiter returned. He didn’t apologize. He set the coffee down, and said, “Ready to order?”

“Yes. Eggs, please. With toast, and a side of yogurt and granola.”

“That everything?”

“Yes it is.”

“Great.” The waiter took the menu and left to punch the order into his computer.

Darius waited, watching people come and go. Two families sat near the window, and a trio of old men were at the back of the restaurant. A tired, disheveled couple walked in, holding hands and leaning against each other, giggling.

The waiter brought Darius his food, topped up the coffee, and left him be. Darius ate slowly, one small savoury bite at a time. He watched the people around him, listened to their conversations. Another couple walked in, this one looking brighter, more well-rested than the first. Another family entered. An old woman walked in but didn’t sit, just said hello to the cook, then left. Darius smiled, and kept eating.

He finished his food, and rather than harry the busy waiter, left enough to cover the bill, tax, and a healthy tip. He walked out and turned down the street, pleased at his meal, if not the service.


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