The restaurant was hushed, just the faint tingle of conversation and the click of glasses. Velvet-footed servers navigated their customers between courses, offering quiet suggestions of food and drink.

The woman sat, leaning forward, toward the candle light. When she tilted her head in conversation, unique earrings – earth-bound gems and sea-shone beach glass suspended on twining vines of airy silvered strands – prismed the soft glow. The same blend of sea and sky wrapped her wrist and neck. He made them for her.

She reached across the table, fingers outstretched, then closing warm. She stared down at her hand, “When did it get so ancient,” she thought. Last she’d looked, each finger wore younger skin.

She shook her head slightly; thick, grey-streaked braid swaying across her back. A smile crinkled her face; laughter danced in watery, winter-blue eyes. Her dress, a waterful of pastel silk, rippled.

At this table, it was always then. First meal, first kiss, first night entwined as lovers. Breathless. Mapping each others bodies with tracing fingers. Leaning into the pleasure of each other.

First morning together. Breakfast of coffee and pastries from the bakery downstairs. His apartment smelling of lust and heady bready yeast. And love. First love.

From alone into two merging as one.

That special night each year when she sat, deep in love and conversation, at a table set for two. Yet, she dined alone.

For Tale Weaver, a meditation on alone.