It’s one of those nights that can happen in any culture, in any country. A lonely traveler happens upon a hidden, local spot for a meal. The people smile and welcome him in. He is seated and, despite language barriers, he is able to discern something edible using gestures, smiles, and a few laughs.
A drink, perhaps a local wine, is brought to him in a humble, round glass without a stem. It is delicious and fragrant. The stress of the road melts away and contentedness begins to seep in slowly.
Then a meal is set before him. The scents entice him as he takes a bite, and oh my god, it’s so delicious. He closes his eyes and moans as if he’s just been kissed by a long lost lover. The waiter and the other diners smile knowingly. Tears begin to form, but don’t quite fall. Everyone is so gracious. The sunset is achingly beautiful.
He savors the meal, each bite languishing in his mouth. Each swallow of wine easing his weary bones. A happy buzz envelops his body. The conversations and laughter in a foreign tongue sound like a cosmic orchestra of joy.
He pays and then wanders outside, taking in the stars that have appeared since he went inside. He hears laughter and music and sees lovers arm in arm strolling about. He finds a place where a musician or perhaps a small band is playing. They see him and smile warmly and invitingly.
He stands for a moment, taking in the music. Eventually he sits and a couple of other travelers notice him and invite him to share in their wine and conversation. Everyone and everything is glowing softly. The beauty of it all overwhelms him and he laughs, tears finally falling, as he realizes that this is what life is supposed to be like. This is what it is all about: kind souls, beautiful music, lovely views, delicious food, entrancing conversation, fine drink, and much laughter.
It’s not supposed to be about slaving away to barely pay bills and try to one-up others at work. It’s not about acquiring status symbols or arguing politics or interpersonal drama. It’s not about a cynical, sarcastic, jaded commentary as if life were a television reality show. It’s about experience, joy, and newfound innocence. It’s about tasting new things. It’s about seeing things that stop your heart for a moment and make you realize that humanity is worth something after all.
These nights seem to simultaneously last forever, and yet are over far too soon. And tomorrow, you’ll be off to yet another adventure.
© 2015 William Suphan
- Mutated Work Ethic
- Pet Peeves and Small Pleasures