I had just finished my last final, one of those pre-nursing school semesters, when home held a dangerous edge. I watched every penny closely, knowing how little I had, how much I would need it as soon as I could get out. I stopped at the Roasting Co. for lunch. Got a day old croissant and gazpacho, with tea, savoring my time alone, in peace, the luxury of being served, indulging deeply in my selfish sin. My brain buzzed, my heart ached, I dared not dream of freedom, so I immersed myself in the pure pleasure.
Strange now, how that seemed so expensive, so luxurious. How much I needed that solitude, required that hour of quiet. I decided, without actually deciding, to tell all the people I knew what I lived with, at whatever cost. If only to shame myself into doing whatever I needed to stop it. Without hope of help, for I never considered them helping me, only being unable to meet their eyes if I didn't act, and quickly.
The tears of gratitude still well, when I think of all the generosity that made my escape possible, all unexpected, a very human miracle. People who stepped in because they were needed. Even though I have since lost touch with most of them, I remember, and wish them all kinds of blessings.
I still enjoy a meal alone, to not think exactly, just to be, while chewing.