Sunday Morning

  Sunday morning.  I am seated at my favorite breakfast place, a restaurant near the Fox River.  The 199-mile tributary runs through the middle of our small suburban village. It is throttled by an overflow dam just north of the main street bridge.  Below the dam the shallow water moves sluggishly south.  From where I sit I can see the bridge and its three stone arches spanning the affected river. And I see, now, that it is raining.

I came here alone, as usual.  The owner had again asked me, Table for one? I had again answered, I am with book.

The family owned restaurant has delicious food and not many people seem to know this.  I am usually the first person to arrive on the weekends.  When I enter the owner’s daughter also greets me.  She seats me at the same table that I have dined at for the past two years – a windowed corner space.  Sitting here, I view the river. It appears motionless this side of the bridge.

I brought with me today Samuel Beckett’s book Three Novels:  Molloy, Malone Dies, The Unnamable.  The contemplative Malone Dies fits the mood of this desultory day. And, though I don’t ascribe to Beckett’s perspective of seeing life as being random and meaningless and art as its redeemer, I do like his prose style and especially today. Impounded with mordant loneliness, I need to break out of these thoughts somehow.

My reflections are soon interrupted by a hand picking up my water glass and another flooding it with ice water.  A new girl stands at my table – a pimply sixteen year old.  She wondered aloud, Do you know what you want?  I told her, Coffee and a cheese omelet.  She asked, unsure of what she had heard, What?  I repeated my request.  The second time I spoke it loudly and with grand hand gestures as if I were speaking to a foreigner.  Thereupon she scribbled what I believed to be her response.  After ten minutes a cheese omelet appeared and I was relieved. For a moment I thought Beckett might be right.

The rain is falling steadily now.  The white noise sound outside my bound-up thought is comforting. And for now, space and time are held in check.  But my loneliness has become a cesspool.

© Sally Paradise, 2011, All Rights Reserved

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