Roses are red for Valentine’s Day, aren’t they? In this vignette, the yellow rose isn’t a flower and it isn’t romantic. But it is a wish for those who don’t feel that they are enough on Valentine’s or any day of the year.
The Yellow Rose of Valentine’s Day
Couples crowded the restaurant decorated with red hearts and red roses and red bows. They only had eyes for one another until she appeared. The silver-haired woman dressed in a vibrant yellow off-the-shoulder dress glided between tables. The hostess sat her at the center table. Alone. She sat with perfect posture, crossed her ankles, and smiled and chatted with the hostess.
The waiter brought her a bottle of champagne. She saluted with her glass and drained it in a single draught, then laughed a full-voiced, from the belly laugh, loud enough that the entire restaurant of couples stopped talking and stared. She laughed again and set her glass down. The waiter refilled it, then left. She placed her hands on the table and a generous and genuine smile lit her face. She swayed as if to music, but it wasn’t the sappy romantic ballad that filled the restaurant. The other customers recovered and re-focused on each other.
At a table near the woman in yellow, sat a young couple. He looked uncomfortable in a too-tight suit. His girlfriend wore a frilly red dress and rarely took her eyes off of him. But his eyes drifted away from his date, drawn to the woman in yellow. His date reached out and touched him, she cajoled him, then she glared at him with stabby eyes.
The woman in yellow, absorbed in the melody that only she could hear, didn’t seem to notice. Her smile grew wider and more infectious when the waiter approached with her meal. She clapped her hands and thanked him, then focused on her plate. She ate her steak and lobster with gusto and sipped her Champagne.
A waitress served the nearby couple while she ate. The young man shoveled food into his mouth between glances at the woman in yellow. His date frowned and stirred her mashed potatoes.
The woman in yellow sat back, her smile wide and pleased. The waiter cleared her table and they exchanged a few words.
A few moments later, the waiter brought her a small chocolate-covered, heart-shaped cake. He sliced it for her and she laughed at something he said. She took a bite cake and her eyes closed in reverence. She relished every bite of that slice of cake and when she finished she sighed a long, contented sigh. The waiter hurried to her table with her check. She smiled at him, paid cash, and swept past the table with the young couple and all the other tables with couples and out the door.
The young man at the nearby table signaled the waiter. “Who was that woman?”
The waiter looked after her. “She has reserved that table every Valentine’s day for the past twenty years but I’ve never known her name.”
“Does she always come alone?”
The waiter smiled. “Always. She says,”Everyone of us are enough in and of ourselves. Love yourself. Be fabulous.'”
Have a fabulous Valentine’s Day!
Always a joy! Love your writing.
Thank you, Lisa. You made my day.
That was so beautifully written. Well done. It reminds me of a story a woman once told who was feeling a bit down one day when she got on the bus. She was in NY and a young woman was standing in front of her with large bag. It was obvious she was a model and all eyes were on her. Then a young man turned to the older woman and gazed at her appreciatively. Not in a leering fashion, just noticing her. She thanked him when she disembarked, her spirits soaring.
That’s the emotion you evoke here. We aren’t alone.
That’s a lovely story you shared, Julie. Now, my spirits are soaring. Thank you for your appreciation.
I enjoyed reading your Valentine story. I have dined alone and found that most people are not comfortable with doing so. I so wanted to hear what the woman in yellow had said to the waiter and his response. Keep writing.
Thank you so much, Theresa! I have also dined alone. You’re absolutely right that most people aren’t comfortable dining alone in public. The diners around them can be so uncomfortable, they make the lone diner uncomfortable. It’s silly. Dining alone is a treat.