These days, I’ve swapped the late nights at the clubs for early tranquil mornings. I found myself totally alone this morning, a rare occasion these days of coupledom. It’s a rather nice spring day, after the non-stop rain the day prior. I relished in the silence of the apartment for a while, then headed to Al’s Diner for a brunch of one. Egg white omelette and salad. And a latte. It’s a joy to drink coffee for the pure joy and not due to the frantic need for caffeine.
The city is awake, but not busy. For a short while, I was alone in the outdoor patio. The food arrived, and rather than whipping the phone out to scroll through the New York Times headlines, I ate my food mindfully while observing my surroundings. The occasional bicycle, scooter, and three-wheeler man with its bell signaling he’s collecting unwanted electronics. Far off to the side, there was construction. There is always construction. Shanghai’s ever-changing nature is how it’s managed to keep me here for so long. Every now and again, I think about another life to be lived, in another destination. Yet time and again, I can’t pin point another place that I’d rather be at this juncture of my life.
Brunch crowd begins to fill out the neighborhood, and my monopoly on the space ends. I took out my journal and began writing. Writing meditation at the cafe is one of my favorite pastimes, but these days, I find the opportunity to be alone to be fewer and farther in between. For so many years, alone time was plentiful, but now, it’s a treasure to sneak in a day just for me. I let the thoughts pour onto paper, no filter. It’s a form of mental cleanse. Just let your thoughts be.
And then I was out of thoughts. The pollution hovers just below my threshold for outdoor activities. I plan how I will enjoy the day alone. Leisure Sunday mornings, the small pleasure in life.