“Once we thought we would always be young…”
The evening was perfect when we arrived at
the restaurant. The dock was aglow with
holiday lights of all manner glistening off
the water in a dance of colored waves up and
down the riverfront.
Families and friends had gathered in celebratory
fashion to raise their glasses to one another and
to the spirit of the season, chatting and laughing
merrily. The dining tables were set with holiday
candles and wooden Santa’s.
Our family party of four had just settled in when
my attention was drawn to a lone corner table and
an elderly gentleman who caught my eyes
for just a few seconds. He was very old, finely
dressed, distinguished, alone. Worse, he appeared
to be extremely downtrodden.
I’ve never liked seeing old people dining alone.
It’s one of those things that just pings at my heart
strings and immediately plays a sad sad tune.
This night it especially hit me as this man just
seemed so terribly out of place amongst all the
gaiety and aura of togetherness that was swallowing
up the restaurant.
I wanted to go sprinkle fairy dust on him and
make a family appear. He just stared at his
food as if it was much to painful to look at
any of the beauty and warmth that was
occurring around him. For a moment, I felt
like I was in quicksand.
I never said anything to anyone about that old man
of course. It would have dampened the spirit of the
evening and besides, my family would have said
perhaps the man wanted to be alone after all.
However, I think I know better –
I saw it in his eyes and I felt it in my heart.