I order my udon noodle soup
today I try chicken, even spicier than last time
the humid sesame broth can no longer be considered
a remedy for my nervous tummy
but, I’m getting better with chopsticks

it’s not as good as I remember it
and, I remind myself out of habit
that I don’t much care for soup

I have a book open in front of me,  though my eyes are focused
on the goings-on around my table
I realize
I’m there to see him, and I hope he sees me this time
I’m wearing a skirt, I never wear skirts anymore
my skin is clear and I feel confident
despite the rain, it’s a good hair day

I feel predatory
determined to be obvious
this time
i will catch his eye and somehow get up from the table if need be
to say hello

“you’ve lost that loving feeling”
I’m singing along in my head

“what are you doing?”  I’ve stopped singing
and you say you don’t live in the past
‘the past’ makes me think of Alex
and I remember my hysterical bout of sobbing saturday night
and how the cats watched me
and the length of time – this past stretch between break downs
no, I’m not ready
for boys I’ve yet to meet or courage to face boys I’ve known before
I’m just bored
and my romance with soup is growing stale

so, I stand up, to gather my things
and realize that I’ve got a little problem
I have a puddle in my lap, on the front of my skirt
I thought I was more graceful this time, barely a splash as noodles and vegetables
fell back into the broth

“you’re ridiculous”
i walk, hoping my jacket covers the wet spot
i am alert, hoping not to run into co-workers or anyone I know

it is only Monday
surely I might run into him tomorrow
or the next day