I had been sitting in the corner of the dining table of that long gone restaurant since noon on that very warm but cloudy day. I had seen all sorts of people come in and out: hungry, rushed, impolite, alone, talkative, lonely, lost, busy, cheerful… As to what concerns me, I had decided to enter just to eat. As simple as that. I was hungry, I had plenty of time, that was a restaurant and I wanted to eat and leave. Simple sequence of actions. However, I did not leave upon finishing my meal. I stayed. I decided to satisfy my physical hunger for food as well as my psychological curiosity for other people and their behaviours. Opposed to my normally detached person, I turned into a very snooping human being on that specific beginning of afternoon until closing time that deliberately decided to abuse from my best sense: hearing.
The first arrivals were amazing: the clear sound of each voice, the tones that expressed emotions, full stories being told that I could easily steal them from the thin air. As more people came in, I had to close my eyes and lean my head against the wall to better capture the nuances, distinguish sincere to fake laughter, understand the silence from others (at those I peeked a bit to check their eyes and body language), well, capture all that was possible. And it felt like I had been there for days, maybe even weeks and not just hours derived from the rich menu of experience that I was provided with. I knew secrets now. Learnt business strategies. Heard confessions, gossips, good news, lies, funny stories. I knew it all from those not so strangers anymore and they never even saw. The power of being invisible…
When rehearsing to leave, a song started with its happy piano playing in the speakers. I did not recognise it at first and silently listened to it in a rather automatic mode, observing the waiter pretending to be busy drying up some cutlery while also giving me the when-is-this-one-leaving look. I started gathering my notes, pen, bag, loosened my ponytail, took off my glasses while taking in a deep breath and stretching my feet. I slowly got up to go when the lyrics called me attention: something about “they never told you the price you pay for the things you might have done”. That sat me back down, making the waiter deeply sigh as if defeated in a war and show another tired expression on his face. While turning his back on me and disappearing into the kitchen, I was left all alone among all those chairs and the melody.
Although cheerful, the song was quite dense as the fellow singer states over and over again that “only the good die young”. And I agree with him. Only the good ones are saved and taken away from this misery and shame. God saves the young: He takes them to join Him in His joyful heaven – no wonder Heaven is a good place. For those there are no stained-glass curtain to hide behind because it’s not necessary! After all, the young ones don’t have time to feel shame, they have just about time to feel life. He then lets the old ones here tell the tale. And mind you, not a pretty one. Who wants to grow old anyway? Who truly wishes to see their bodies slowly decompose alive? Watch the unfortunate hand of time take away your memory, your movements, your friends, your breath (not in a good way)? Isn’t it much more romantic to be remembered in the pretty white dress and have the immaculate attractive face? The soul leaves before it’s corrupted and destroyed. There is time to gather useful information to use in Heaven and go: the trashy information is left out. Convenient. Appropriate. Assertive. Only the good die young.
As a non-believer of coincidences, all I could was simply smile after listening to that specific song right on that day: a day so full of many surprising and unexpected stories by all sorts of people (any to die soon amongst them?, I wondered) that made look up to the audio speakers and nod as if talking to an invisible flying object. Or maybe to a random young soul passing by.