She relished in her guilty pleasure; imbibing highly caffeinated coffee while reading a book. Books were her safe haven, her friends, her family. They were a hiding place from reality, the bitter monster that refused vehemently to leave her side. Reading had become more than a hobby, it was her life. She was all alone at a restaurant table but that was the least of her worries at the moment. Her book had immersed her in a completely different world.
As she reached out to grab her cup of coffee for yet another sip, Bianca could not help but stare at her freshly-manicured nails. A YouTube video, dubbed ‘How To Love Yourself’ had convinced her to go get her nails painted. It was an act of showing appreciation to oneself, the feisty YouTuber had said. She beheld the tiny nails, now coated with red nail polish. They seemed to be drowning in a sea of meat. She had imagined that the manicure would make fragile as an adjective qualify to describe her fingers. To her dismay, they had only exaggerated the stubbiness of her fingers. She chuckled and sighed inwardly.
Out of the blues, laughter erupted in a table next to hers. On other days, she would not have bothered, let alone heard any sound. However, on that day, her nails had bewitched her into leaving the books world and entering the real world. She found herself throwing a glance at the table. An extremely beautiful woman was seated facing a man whose face Bianca could not quite see. The woman’s eyes never left the man’s face. Giggles punctuated all her sentences. A couple in love. The sight of that couple left Bianca with an overwhelming sadness. To her, love was a sensation cursed into oblivion. The feeling of loving and being loved had become completely alien to her.
She had to force herself to look elsewhere. The picture of the happy couple had become too much to bear. She tried reentering her favourite world, the books world, to no avail. Her eyes were left to dart from table to table within her vicinity. All she saw were happy couples, amazing families and great friends. Everyone was having a time of their lives. No one was seated alone.
She was the only person in this world shackled with loneliness, she concluded. She was engulfed in a fervent desire for good things in life, yet continually slapped by bitter reality. There was not a single soul she could call a friend, not a single person she could call family. Her only companion was lack, not luck.
Still reeling from the fresh wounds reality had afflicted upon her, she left some money beside the unfinished cup of coffee, and stomped out of the restaurant. As soon as she left the restaurant she broke into a run, tears streaming down her face. She did not know where she was going, but she could not stop running.