Alone in the Cafeteria

Alone in the Cafeteria

Lonesome? Pull up a chair. This is for you.

Everyone knows the alone in the cafeteria feeling. Even people who never sat alone in the cafeteria know the alone in the cafeteria feeling.

You sit down. You open your brown paper bag hoping your mom didn’t go too heavy on the carrot sticks again. Next to the carrots and under the sandwich you find a brownie and a folded up note: I love you, sweetheart, it says.

Everyone knows the alone in the cafeteria feeling. Even people who never sat alone in the cafeteria know the alone in the cafeteria feeling.

You grow up and alone in the cafeteria changes clothes. Maybe it starts wearing hipper outfits. Maybe it starts only wearing clothes that won’t draw the eye. Or that always draw eyes. Maybe it only ever wears fancy suits. Maybe it would not be caught dead in a suit. Maybe it wears tents and mumus. Maybe it wears mini skirts that couldn’t be minier.

Everyone knows the alone in the cafeteria feeling. Even people who never sat alone in the cafeteria know the alone in the cafeteria feeling.

Today you look around a potluck table. A lucky table it is, covered as it is with pots of this and plates of that, shamelessly eavesdropping on the laughing, the chatting, the music, and spying on the footsies, the winks, the tapping toes. Even though you just arrived, it likes you, this potluck table, and when it asks you to read something you wrote, you do. More, it says, laughing, read more.

Everyone knows the alone in the cafeteria feeling. Even people who never sat alone in the cafeteria know the alone in the cafeteria feeling.

You wake up early and find alone in the cafeteria camped out in your chest. You would kick it out but you know it would only come back tomorrow having changed its clothes. And since even in a new purple ruffle hopscotch bikini everyone knows alone in the cafeteria, today you say hello.

Anyone sitting here? it asks.

You are, you say, scooching over to make room.

(c) Heidi Fischbach, 2015

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