I stride into the canteen with purpose, as if I am ready to meet a Friend, as if I know exactly what I am going to order. I keep my head high, but I am only looking at stalls, not people.
I walk quickly. My eyes do not stray as I head right for the food stall that sells waffles . The aunty at the stall smiles at me, “yes?”. I order waffles with maple syrup and not a meal because I might look lonely if I eat it by myself.
Besides, it will take too much time. I do not want to spend too much time here eating.
But maybe if I had lunch buddies I would.
I buy waffles with maple syrup and three pieces of seaweed chicken.
Maybe I can eat this on the way back to the library. I could consume it so fast that no one would know that this is my lunch…that I am eating this alone.
I want to walk back but then decide at the last minute to head to the fruit juice stand to buy juice. Heck since I am already here.
It is only 1.30pm anyway. There will not be too many people who will stare.Besides, what should I be afraid of?
Eating is a social activity only when you have people to be social with.
I choose a table in the corner of the canteen, right next to a construction barrier. I am purposefully seated away from the crowd – away from the stares of people who might think I have no friends.
I am sitting alone.
Right in front of me is a girl who, too, is sitting alone. She is an exchange student. She listens to music on her iPhone as she eats. She does not look up.
I am trying to be comfortable with eating alone but I am not. I do not people watch, only glancing up every now and then to stretch my neck.
I shake my legs .
Stop it Stephanie, don’t be nervous.
I bury myself in my phone . Whatsapping, texting, googling, writing this post on WordPress.
Do I dare to eat alone ? Yes. But I would much rather not.