Thursday, February 22, 2007


He gets his steak and asks as matter of factly, "Well done?"

"Yes sir," nods the waiter who carries on to add the toppings on his baked potato after he cuts it open with his fork and knife.

The man looks at his dish for a moment or two before sinking the fork and knife into the piece of meat

Squish, squish... He sawed away at his steak, seperating them in little cubes small enough to fit into his mouth. When the whole piece was cut up, he proceeded to take away the fatty parts with a slight tinge of disgust on his face.

He worked away at his steak for about 10 minutes before putting down his knife and pausing to admire his work.

Squish... The fork sank into a small cube of the steak. He casually lifted it into his mouth and chewed it. While he chewed it, he stared blankly to the left.

Chomp chomp chomp... The muscles on his cheeks tensed and relaxed as his mouth did the work like as if it had a mind of it's own. He only snapped out of his "suspended animation" mode when there was nothing left to chew.

Gulp... He swallows it down and continues to choose another piece to eat. Picking one up, he puts it into his mouth and chewed again but spat it out after a few bites. Fatty portions, it seemed. He face contorted in disgust as he searched for a better piece. Found one, put it into his mouth, stared blankly to his left again and swallowed it.

I wonder what went through his mind as he stared into blank space. Was he thinking of the fight he had with his wife earlier on? Possible. Was he worrying about his rent? Could be. Was he thinking about which EPL match to bet on? Maybe. Was he considering where he is going to sleep tonight? Might be. Or was he simply lonely? I wouldn't know for sure, but most probably. The man sat there for about an hour straight - alone. For the few times he did not look to his left, he allowed his eyes to wander around. Sometimes he looked longingly at the table across where a happy family sat eating and talking. Sometimes his eyes searched frantically around the eatery as if he was looking out for a familiar face to call out to.

But I wouldn't know, would I?

What I do know is this: no man can be an island. A lonely person is as good as a person with one foot in the grave. Moments of solitude can no doubt be good at times, but not all the time. I realised that we can never survive on our own in this world no matter how independent we are. Somehow or another, we would still have to depend on someone or something. We're inter-dependent on one another. No man is an island.

The man paid his bill with a $50 dollar note, got up, put a cigarette into his mouth and walked away. As I saw him from his rear, I recounted the horrible times I had to eat alone. I'd either skip that entire meal or call somebody out to accompany me. It's never a pleasant feeling to have to eat alone, much less be alone in the world. I pondered also about the countless people I've seen sleeping alone on the streets at my district. You'd never get a wave of euphoria sleeping alone, much less being alone in the world.

I realised how fortunate I am to have a family who cares enough to cook my food, friends who bother to come out to accompany me, mentors who're generous enough to lend a listening ear. They might not know it consciously, but I think they understand one thing I do: Nobody deserves to be alone.

Two is better than one for when one falls, the other is there to pick him up and set him right. When both fall, well, at least they fall together and not alone.

"If we hold on together
I know our dreams will never die
Dreams see us through to forever
As high as souls can fly
The clouds roll by
For you and I" - If We Hold On Together by Diana Ross

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