I had a little tea party this afternoon at three
‘Twas very small, three guests in all, ‘Just I, myself and me.
Myself ate all the sandwiches while I drank all the tea.
‘Twas also I who at the pie and passed the cake to me.
– Jessica Nelson North
I read this poem the other day, and my first thought wasn’t ‘oh, one little girl ate all the sweet goodies’; it was ‘when does alone turn to lonely?’
That struck me as strange. I mean the little girl in the poem is ‘alone’. Sure, she might have a teddy and a doll or two at the same tea party, but she’s playing by herself. It’s fun and imaginative and nowhere does it sound like she’s lonely.
When does alone turn to lonely?
I’ve been alone many times. I like my solitude. I’m an introvert, and being alone recharges me. Being alone is also great for exploring the worlds inside my head so I can write too. But, I’ve been alone for more often than I’ve been lonely.
And I have been lonely.
When I think the word ‘lonely’ a strong image comes to my head. It’s a crowded room. Everyone is laughing, chatting and brightly coloured. But at the centre is me. In the midst of the movement of the crowd, I’m still. Stationary. I’m one tiny speck of stillness that no one else touches or comes near.
Day 8 – Go to a local café, park, or public place and report on what you see. Get detailed: leave no nuance behind. (Part truth, part fiction – TP)
I see her sitting there. Her shoulders hunch, her head is down, a cave unto herself. Buried in the scarf and beany she still wears despite the heat in the coffee shop. Her fingers clutch the cardboard coffee cup as though it is her only lifeline. Perhaps she hopes no one notices the single solitary tear. It lands, a deluge on the glossy wooden table. She drops her head further. I can no longer see her face.
Another is sitting near the window. Her suit is white. Immaculate. Her shoulders are pulled back. She has such straight posture. I wonder if it hurts her to move. The rhythmic glint of her manicured fingernails draws my attention as she drums her fingers on the table. She looks at her phone then out the window. I think she could be waiting for someone.
A grimace crosses her face as she tastes her coffee. Turning her head in quick movements like a crow, she glares at the barista. If looks could kill. The rhythmic flashing starts again. Apparently she’s waited long enough. Leaving her coffee on the table she collects her bag and heads for the door. I can feel the vibration of every slam of her heels on the floorboards with each harsh step. She looks at no one.Read More »