To the grandmother at Cookout

I assume you're a grandma. Considering the difference in our ages and the incredulous fact that I'm a grandma you may even be a great grandma!
You had the look about you   Your mannerisms were gentle and easy. Your temperament was sweet and the way you insisted on going last at the drink station let me know you've had lots of practice being selfless. We had a fun albeit quick little chat about how confusing the drink dispenser was.  Your smile was engaging.

I went on to my table and enjoyed my burger with Betsy.  As she set out to conquer her cookie dough milkshake, I took a moment to scan the restaurant, wondering about the hubby I expected to see you sitting across from.

I found you.

But not him.

Not anybody.

You were alone.
Eating your burger and fries.  In solitude.

I think my heart stopped beating for a few seconds as my mind covered the gamut of the possible scenarios of your life.

To lots of young Moms, getting to eat alone - even if only a Cookout burger and fries - sounds like an unattainable luxury!  But I wonder if that maybe isn't how you felt at all.  I don't know what circumstances surround your alone-ess but I think your being here by yourself takes courage.

Maybe you were out running errands and your hubby is at home but it was time for lunch and so you just came in to eat. 
It still takes courage to sit by yourself, surrounded by people.

Maybe you are driving to visit family and this was a stop along the way.
It still takes courage to sit by yourself, surrounded by people.  And to figure out the drink refill thing.

Or maybe your story is that you're alone every day.  That your hubby of a lot of kids and years is gone.  And you're out to eat to beat the alone-ness.
That takes an awful lot of courage.

While Betsy made sure that she left no molecule untouched in her delectable dessert, I wondered if you'd been alone long.  If you'd had a happy marriage, the blessing of children, and a good life.  If you have dear friends that you get together with regularly.  If you feel loved and valued.

Or if you're really lonely and if the prospect of eating by yourself surrounded by people sounded better than eating by yourself all alone.

 The tears that were welling up in my eyes as I considered that this might be your story mean that I admire you.

And that my brief goodbye and watery smile as Betsy and I passed by your table on our way out were meant to pay homage to your courage.

I hope you enjoyed your lunch.  And I hope somehow that you're on your way to a great party to celebrate you.
And I really really really hope that you're not lonely.