This is a little anecdote I wrote about dining alone in Paris one Saturday evening. My penchant for solo travel means I have had many dinner-for-one experiences in foreign cities. This one stuck in my mind. The first two sentences were scribbled in my note book on the evening in question and dated ‘drunk in Paris, 2015’.
Holding someones hand is so foreign to me. Its been six long years. Bewitched. Spellbound. Cursed to a life of singledom. Did I break a mirror in my dreams? It’s September 2015 and I am sitting in the window of a small, quaint French restaurant in Le Maris. I have the cozy bench table along the window at the front restaurant all to myself. No table for two with an obvious spare seat and table setting across from me demanding imaginary conversation. No pitying glances from other diners wondering if my date had left me at the restaurant alter. Free to stare out the window and watch the colourful, eclectic twilight street life and passersby. The perfect view for dining alone. A thin glass barrier shields me from the busy Parisian street. I can observe without interaction as if watching a silent technicolour movie. Everyone is holding hands. Or it seems that way to me. Girlfriends, boyfriends, lovers, partners, friends, wives, husbands, female, male, gay, straight, all holding hands. Parisians rushing with someplace else to go as night time descends; miniature dogs parading proudly along the pavement pretending to be giants on the ends of their leashes; tourists casually strolling in search of a place to eat or drink or whatever else they fancy. All I see is couples, pairs, twos.
My melancholy is somewhat distracted by the window reflection of a waiter inside the restaurant. A handsome Parisian waiter. I watch his movements. His friendly effervescent interaction with other dinners. His pale blue floral shirt, his dark wavy hair, his cute cheeky smile, his Frenchness so divine. The restaurant is full. Tables overflowing with food and the roar of companionship and cheer. Disappointed tourists are turned away. I feel lucky to have chanced a seat at the window. Fortunate to have him as my waiter. What was his name? A perfect distraction from all the coupleness outside. We flirt a little in broken English and French and joke I am a CIA secret agent spying on people in the street. Hidden microphones and observations quickly jotted down in my little notebook. Drunken scribbles. The food is divine. The French red wine slides too easily from the bottle to refill my empty glass. One glass. Two glass. Three? “Can I take you home?” is the unspoken question floating, spinning around and around in my lonely, single girl mind. Drunk in Paris.
Before foolish embarrassing regrets spring to life I had better find my way back to the hotel. The bill is hastily paid and with one last furvitive glance into the restaurant I stumble out onto the street. The Paris Saturday evening air feels crisp upon my warm wine flushed cheeks, my hands plunge deep into my pockets as I make my way back to the hotel, merging anonymously into street life I had been watching moments before behind my window shield. Alone, I fall face first like a fallen star into the middle of my hotel room bed; red wine dreaming of a wild, illicit French love affair. Surely the single curse will finally disappear into the Parisian night and leave this weary single girl soul?