The Dinner

November 4, 2017 — Leave a comment

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Ode To Social Anxiety

 

Sitting opposite my wife

With my napkin

On my lap,

I gripped my fork and stabbed the duck,

Marinated in weird oriental sauces, so I thought,

Served with a smashed potato,

As I was crushed by an

Intensifying anxiety,

Aware (or thinking) that the two diners

At the next table

Were watching me.

 

My mouth was as dry as the skin on the bird,

My stare as steely as the knife by the dinner plate,

And the guy with the beard and glasses grinned

And whispered something to his wife

Who turned around

To look at me.

 

And I chewed on the meat that was as tough as nails

Between my teeth,

 

And I knew I was not only fighting a losing battle

With my culinary skills

But also, the people around me,

Who I knew,

Found my side profile odd,

And disconcerting.

That was the only explanation I could find.

 

We were on a ship and had no choice,

Our seats were allotted arbitrarily,

At the reception desk,

And my fellow diners, complete strangers,

Now had to contend

With my presence,

Having spoiled their evening

With my glancing and scanning

To see who was watching,

And guessing that they must be thinking

What I knew to be true,

Without validation.

 

I do look odd from the side,

So they say,

And the duck, was really quite tough.

When the diners had gone

I asked the waiter

“What was the sauce” and he said

It was  plum puree.

Plum.

Puree.

 

And the ship sailed along

As we finished our wine

A man sang a song

We were both feeling fine,

And the diners had gone

To their cabins to sleep

Outside there were stars

And waters so deep.

 

But I didn’t go back

The following night

To our table

Beside

The strangers.

The inherent dangers

Of projecting our fears

On each other

Can be put aside

Because

We will never see

Each other again.

 

 

 

 

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