The restaurant was dim and cool after the blistering heat outside. I had been window shopping since morning and now my feet were avenging themselves on my pointless rambling. All I had to show for my aching feet was an ugly, cheap umbrella I didn’t need to buy. It was my misguided attempt at beating the heat.
The umbrella protected me from the sun but I was still melting. It was useless against the heat that rose off the sun baked pavements. Dust and heat mingled and filled my nostrils with hot intimacy. I was feeling sweaty and filthy in barely an hour.
It was one of those days.
When I woke up it was nearly seven. Even this early in the morning, the air had already turned tepid. I had nothing scheduled for today. I grinned to myself sardonically. Nothing to do and all day to do it in, I thought. And no one to do it with, a part of me whispered maliciously. I could have screamed.
In a frenzy, I showered and swallowed a cup of tea. By eight I had reached the market which was, as I knew it would be, deserted. The shops were closed. A few street dogs lay panting in the shade of a lone tree. It made me hot to look at them. My feeling of exasperation mounted.
I went into the so- called park which boasted a few dust laden, stunted trees, some dispirited scraggly bushed and yellowed, dying grass. I tried desperately to convince myself that I had come out so early to enjoy a few moments of solitude in the park. It didn’t work.
The shops began to open around nine- thirty. By ten, most of the shops had woken up, though they still looked groggy with sleep, unwashed and disheveled. I began my disheartened traipse around the familiar shops. They helped me create an illusion of purposeful engagement. I felt mildly affectionate towards them. They did for me what I couldn’t do for myself.
It was just after eleven now. The cool restaurant felt like a haven. Once you closed the swing doors and stepped into the cool recess, you entered another world. This world had no place for the strife that choked you in the other. The outer world’s inadequacies had no power to grab you in these dim confines. Then I knew.
I had left home in a hurry only to come here. The pointless frenzy of the past three hours was merely a necessary sequence of events rigged to get me to a state in which to enter this place was the only logical choice. I needed an excuse to enter this sanctuary, out of reach of the world and all its demands.
I was happy to sit inside the cool restaurant sipping my first glass of chilled mint tea. I took a long pull and felt the chilled bliss find its way into the craggy dark nooks of my consciousness, creating damp pools of solace. I felt as if a cool hand had smoothed out the crinkled corners of my soul. I felt my ire seeping out of me leaving contentment in its wake.
I could feel the presence of old friends and bygone days. The place was resplendent with the memory of joyous hours I had spent in company of the people I had cherished. Their ever present spirits gave me company now, silently raising their glasses in greeting. I still had nothing to do and no one to do it with all day, but it didn’t matter anymore.
I didn’t need to DO; it was enough to BE.