Monday, November 20, 2017

Lonely Late Lunch (a short story)

A middle-aged man sits alone at a table for four in a slightly upscale fast food establishment.  His eyes peer out the window at the afternoon flow of traffic.  People coming and going, their lives in motion while he sits and watches them go by.  

Three young men sit at a table across the dining area.  The middle-aged man eavesdrops on their conversation, not because of what is being said, but because anything is being said.  

Voices.  Voices communicating, expressing ideas and opinions.  Sometimes taking turns, sometimes overlapping.  Inflections noting sincerity to sarcasm.  Laughter mingling with words.  Friends sharing this moment in physical life.  

The middle-aged man's  friends sit in the chair beside him.  Within a satchel resides a portable device.  An out-of-date tablet full of people.  People he has known in his life but are now mostly online connections and people who will always remain photos and typed words on the screen.

He thinks about the three young men and tries to imagine  what it would be like to have a friend sitting at the table with him.  Would they speak of what was, what is, or what could be?  Would they debate some topic, dissecting it until understanding is reached?  Would they make each other laugh, causing the sensation of being happy?  Happy to be alive?  Happy to be experiencing this moment with this friend?  

He thinks about his old tablet, tucked safely into his satchel.  Maybe he could find someone to connect with during his lunch, if only the Wi-Fi wasn't down.  It should be easy to inform an employee of this technical glitch, but that would be tantamount to confessing his feelings of being a pathetic loser who can no longer connect with people in the physical world.

So, the middle-aged man sits alone at a table for four, watching his life go by.


Thank you for reading my half-blind nonsense.

Freak Out, 

P.S.  A short story from last November...


  1. Very touching story, John. Wish I could be there to give you a hug and say that you have Friends who care, my dear friend!! If I could be there to sit and chat, I would be!! Be Well! Be You! BE!