The Usual Jenny

Reading a book

in the window seat.

Glass of water,

carrots, cabbage and mince.


I wrote this poem, if you can even call it that, in a restaurant at lunch time. This restaurant is cosy, small but always busy; a place for families, friends and young couples. Therefore, it was a surprise to watch as one small, elderly lady sat down at the table for four in the window at 12pm. She was swiftly approached by a waitress smiling the words,

‘The usual, Jenny?’ 

Jenny nodded. More focused on thumbing the pages of her book for the last place she re-entered the world of the living. In what felt like a few seconds, Jenny’s usual was delicately put in front of her; a glass of water, carrots, cabbage and mince. She tucked in slowly. Mince and cabbage. A sip of water. A page of the novel in her left hand. Carrots. Water.

Her presence to my left far outweighed the conversation I was supposedly a part of as I lunched myself. I had questions. 

Did she come just on Sundays or every day of the week? Cabbage, carrots and mince wasn’t on the menu so what had they decided to charge her? Was her final bill delivered with sympathy or that waitress’ smile? Did any of that really matter? Wasn’t it just sweet she was welcomed each time she took her seat in the window? Who was she and did she ever envision she would be here? Where do I envision myself in sixty years?

Can anyone really answer that question?

Needless to say, I felt compelled to remember Jenny. I felt I owed it to her quiet confidence, to myself and the fear we all have of being alone. 

© Kristiana Reed 2018


Image credit.

13 thoughts on “The Usual Jenny

  1. erroneouschoices says:

    Beautiful not only that you observe life around you, but that you relate to other people. It’s a thing that rare these days, cell phones and social media of course, but moreso our focus on self has over taken human beings and we’re left with massive disconnect.
    This was lovely

    Liked by 1 person

  2. S_MW says:

    This was great. I smiled the whole way through it, because I do this exact same thing all the time. I’ll likely be dead in sixty years :), but I enjoy being alone. It doesn’t scare me.

    Liked by 1 person

      • S_MW says:

        Haha…like Mel Gibson in that film that I’ve completely forgotten the name of? I think I’ll just float away or whatever is destined for me. There’s a pub, here where I live, where Mince and potatoes is on the menu every day for anyone who knows to ask (me, often)…but is not a fixture on the actual menu. I wonder if they have cabbage?

        Liked by 1 person

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