Eating loneliness is stealing sideways glances to the occasional stirrings of a cup of coffee only a curling throws away from a counter, polished slick by boredom with a side order of lip-chewing and watching the ticking of the clock for the next shift, to announce a brief of kitchen gossip and eventually jingling keys opening black doorways and the snores from the bedroom, eating cold chicken drumsticks and leftover fries, staring at the ashy outline of dinner instructions on the fridge, until the chewing stops, sheets rustle, silence, a peck on the cheek, front door slams, and a phone trilling ignites the flurry of a tie, snapping buttons and gagging on a bagel for the nine-to-five and tapping on keyboards with sideways glances to the windowed daydreaming, until munching alone in the food court rush, on the way back tipping a coin into the rumpled hat owned by the cardboard sign and a ratty coat, sitting perpetually until the evening that is watching scoops of protein and carbs clipped by tongs out of stainless steel trays, eating on a sausage-shaped table, conversations sliced up, and left alone as the loose wedge leftover, until back on the streets, walking by the windowed display of fly-snatching lights and another pour of coffee.
JOSHUA P’NG lives in Toronto and has honourable mentions from the University of Toronto Scarborough writing competition. His work has appeared in Dead Beats, filling station, Great Lakes Review and untethered. When he is not writing he enjoys sketching people on the TTC, reading graphic novels and bike trips in unfamiliar neighbourhoods. You can find him on Twitter, @JoshuaPng1, or at narrativeispower.com.