Geneva Saturday With Ella and Loneliness
by Steven J. Serafiani
It was a warm and beautiful day so I decided to sit outside of a coffee shop and drink some drip and read a book.
I’m in a good mood for whatever it’s worth. My loneliness still in tow but waiting in the car. I left the radio on so it wouldn’t get lonely.
A once busy patio quieted down, now just a group of three girls sitting to the left of me, college age. The ringleader telling a story of having to drag a drunken friend out of a random dorm room one morning to get her to class. I only listened to half of it cause the amount of “likes” got irritating.
Younger parents around my age, sat to the right with their two young daughters; I only knew one of their names, Ella, and she was bullheaded and fiercely independent. And the only reason I knew her name was because of the patient but stern chorus of, “Ella no.” “Ella, stop that.” “Ella come back over here.”
They got up and began to leave. The mother and father headed down the brick walkway to the sidewalk with the youngest daughter but Ella stayed behind. She stood by the stone steps near the entrance with her arms folded and on the verge of waterworks.
She yelled with all the breath in her 5 year old body, “I don’t wanna go home!” Mom and Dad looked at each other and shared a smile. Mom gave him the, “Take care of it daddy” look. I could see the fear in his eyes.
He approached her slowly and she stamped her feet and gave him a scowl; channeling all of the challenging women he had met in his life. The apple of his eye was not budging.
He got as close as he could get and opened up his come here arms but she bolted to the black railing on the stone steps and gripped those bolted black bars as tight as she could.
“No!” she screamed. The actress began her scene and angrily cried.He calmly said, “Come on Ella, we gotta go sweetie.”
He gently tried to pry her away but she held on boy. Like a clawed cat to a window screen. she scrunched her face and coughed out “No, no, no!” a few more times through the sobs as he gently tugged her. She finally conceded and let go.
He picked her up and carried her close against his right shoulder. Tried to kiss her cheek but she turned away. Ella settled down a bit and off they went.
I smiled throughout the whole thing. What a sentimental sight. I felt the warmth and love that swirled around that family. They’ll be fine.
Then, loneliness approached with a limp and sat down next to me. Told me it hot wired my car and crashed into a building a block down. Asked me, “What are you smiling about?” I told it what I had just seen and said it was a beautiful thing. It said, “Don’t get any ideas, we still have a lifetime ahead of us.”
I said, “I think I want that though, I think I want a family.”
It looked at me confused and asked, “Still selfish?”
“Still don’t want a relationship?”
“Still set in your ways?”
“Still got that bottle of whisky on your nightstand?”
It grinned and said, “Still with me.”
I hung my head.
It slugged me in the shoulder and said, “Alright, let’s get going. There’s a train station down the road.” It looked up at the sky, smiled, “Looks like it’s gonna rain.”
I lept up off the chair, ran to the railing and held on tight. And with all the breath in my 29 year old body, I screamed, “I don’t want to go!”
But it peeled me off without a fight and carried me away.