Eating on My Own

Wednesday 4th October 2017

I am sitting in a restaurant on my own and have never felt less lonely. Why doesn’t everyone do this? Well, I suppose not everyone is introverted – and many introverts would still feel uncomfortable eating alone in public, because of the dictations of society.

When I’m by myself, I tend to feel awkward if I don’t know exactly where I’m going. I worry that someone might steal my bag, and my senses are heightened, as if I’m on red alert. It’s wearing.

So, this is a breakthrough for me. I don’t know why it’s been different today, wandering around St Ives – it must be this place.

The malt vinegar is in a sprayer and I enjoy distributing a fine mist over the fish and golden chips, with their crunchy skins and soft, fluffy middles. They are sprinkled with garlic sea salt and rosemary.

I look at the people who are eating and chatting on the balcony outside, and past them to the blue water as it laps on the pale sand. It’s quiet on this side of the big glass windows. There is a bright painting opposite my table – an artist’s impression of the Porthminster Café.

I put my hand on the napkin. The waitress, who has an accent that I can’t quite recognise, offers me a less draughty table, but I like it where I am. It’s warm enough for me to take off my jumper.

My latte has arrived. It’s in a glass with no handle, rather like the ones I had in Paris, although this one is a little less rich in flavour. I’ve asked for the bill.

I should eat on my own more often. My senses are heightened today, not through anxiety, but because I am able to appreciate the experience without any concerns or distractions: I’m living in the here and now. And it’s wonderful.

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