Table for one.
I saw him walk into the restaurant alone. The owner of the restaurant greeted him with a warm hug, just the way traditional Italians do. He was an elderly man, slightly hunched over and almost leaning too far forward as he walked towards the table. The table was situated in a quiet corner of the restaurant. It looked as though it was specially set for the man as it was set for one. I could tell that he was “old school” by the way he was dressed. He wore a neatly ironed pair of grey trousers, an old but clean off white shirt, a jacket and a pair of freshly polished shiny black shoes. Judging by the roughness of his hands, I thought he could be some sort of artisan or perhaps he no longer had anyone caring for him.
Quietly in his candle lit corner, he took a few cards and envelopes out of his right pocket, and out of the other pocket he took out a few Euros and a pen. He then placed the items on the table in front of him.
Oddly, he had a smallish sized picture of Princess Dianne, which he rested against the wall, almost as though Princess Dianna was his dinner companion for the night. He started writing addresses on the envelopes, scribbled little messages on the cards and placed small amounts of money in each card and then placed the cards into the envelopes. He followed this procedure five times, each time smiling sweetly as he scribbled the messages and placed the money inside.
Being an avid people watcher I felt as though I was intruding, but still I couldn’t keep my eyes off the atmosphere created there where the old man sat. I found it quite comforting to watch the old fashioned manner of posting money and sending messages. I wondered if he was sending money to his children or perhaps old relatives who needed a little extra every month.
From my rowdy corner, I quietly shared the enjoyment of the quiet solitude as I discreetly watched over there on the other side of the room…