Fridays at Sunny’s

Mide’s Abor with Olamide Longe

Email: Twitter: @araokian

It was Friday evening. The day’s duties had been done. Time to walk down to Sunny’s, order some food and drink, find a table close to the windows, there was always one available, and sit. She would then slowly eat and observe all that was happening about her, those outside walking by and other diners, too. She would try to read them and take mental notes.

Her pulse quickened.

She got there at half six. Not too early. Not too late.

She got her food, the usual, fried rice and barbecued breast with a bottle of ginger ale.

She found a table; she sat. She ate two spoonfuls of rice, a bite of the breast and the viewing began.

The stunning girl, dressed in the latest fashion trend, her bought hair falling to her waist, obviously on a date with her boyfriend. He had a full head of hair and well manicured beard. A table separated theirs from hers. She observed them for a bit. Both would eat a little and then check their flashy smartphones. Take another bite or two; check their phones. Not a word crossed their lips. They must not be that enamoured of each other. Such a good-looking couple. What a waste.

Three girls sitting three tables away, all dressed in hip hugging trousers, nails painted in bright colours, wrists adorned with multicoloured bangles, their hair like they were trying to see who would wear the biggest, all brandishing wide smart phones and managing to eat, hold a conversation and fidget with their phones at the same time. They must get a kick out of being indistinguishable. She shook her head.

A man, sitting alone, earphones in, obviously deaf to all around him, eating as if he’d been starving all day.

Perhaps he had. He was nodding his head and tapping the table at the same time as he chewed.

He caught her watching.

She averted her face with a jerk.

She focused on her food for a bit, and then looked out the window.

A group of boys walked by, talking excitedly. A hiss escaped her lips. They all looked identical, with similar haircuts, similar trainers, thin jeans and dull coloured tees. A herd. She wondered which one was the leader. If one went to pass water, would they all follow suit?

They vanished from sight.

She sighed.

At about half past seven, more people began to arrive and she perked up.

More characters.

She finally left Sunny’s at about a quarter to nine, after she’d eventually finished her second bottle of ale, which she had bought in order to prolong her stay. Nothing worthy of note had occurred   and no interesting character had shown up.

It was still better than being alone.

There were now more cars on the road and more people on the side walk than had been when she came out, not that many to cause a jam, but enough to make things interesting. The cars moved slowly and people walked in twos, threes and alone. Mostly young couples with arms around each other or joined, blissfully unaware of all, but themselves. One in particular was swinging their joined hands as they sauntered past her. She turned to look at them, a wistful smile hovering on her lips. A memory tugged, but she pushed it away.

Finally, she turned to the path that would take her to the PG hall and to her room. It would be virtually deserted; most of the residents were always gone for the weekend. Only a handful stayed back. Sometimes, she would be the only one left on her floor.

She had hated Friday nights until the day she discovered Sunny’s. She had been reading as usual one late evening, but had found the book tedious and decided to go for a walk instead. She had walked nearly an hour when she saw the restaurant. It looked quite inviting bathed in bright lights, with diners visible from the street. And a lot seemed to be happening.

She had gone in. And had a great time watching other diners and passersby.

Thus began her weekend ritual.

While others prepared to visit loved ones as the weekend approached, she prepared for Sunny’s and a time to share other people’s lives. Somehow. Some days turned out great, some like tonight turned out flat.

It didn’t matter. Fridays at Sunny’s remained the highlight of her week.