Wonderful escape.

8.05.2011

After work today, I treated myself to dinner at a French restaurant in River Oaks.  I sat at a little table for two, right next to a big window so the evening sun could rest on my shoulders.  While I waited for my meal, I read a chapter of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre.


"I will keep the law given by God; sanctioned by man.  I will hold to the principles received by me when I was sane, and not mad – as I am now.  Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation:  they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be.  If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth?"  



This passage stood out among the rest; therein lies a truth that is simple in theory, yet easily ignored or forgotten in the heat of a moment.  Needless to say, it stuck with me for the rest of the evening; books are meant to awaken something inside of us, after all. Within the next few minutes, my food was brought out to me and the novel was set aside.  I ate slowly, enjoying every bite of my avocado and cheese sandwich, while I contemplated admiringly the remarkable passion, wisdom, and integrity of Jane's character.  If anyone deserves a happy ending, I concluded, it's Miss Jane -- a true beauty. Meanwhile, there was no conversation going on around me, no communication of any sort.  Nothing required my attention:  not any person or electronic device, not infatuation or worry.  Time stood still. The past was irrelevant, the future was nonexistent.  In that moment, it was just me and a story and a quaint cafe.

Before walking across the street to Barnes & Noble, I scanned the marquee of the River Oaks Theater and decided in a split second that it might be fun to see a movie.  Why not?  There was a showing of Midnight in Paris at 7:15pm.  Perfect.  I had forty-five minutes to kill.  So I made my way to the bookstore, curled up in one of their big comfy chairs, and dove once again into the riveting world of Jane Eyre.  Let me just say, forty-five minutes seems like ten when you're under the spell of a good book.  On my way out, I smiled at the same employee that teased Marissa, Kristen, and me a few months ago for confiscating all of the wedding magazines from the shelf.  I don't think he recognized me, but he smiled back.  A kind, genuine smile.

The theater was less crowded than I expected it to be on a Friday night.  I bought a box of Raisinettes and picked a center seat, right in between a quiet young couple sharing popcorn and an older couple who filled the theater with their awkward laughter.  The film began by lighting up the screen with snapshots of Paris while beautiful music played in the background.  Instantly, I was smitten.  And even though most of the clever jokes went right over my head, I loved every ninety-four minutes of it.  (Paris, here I come.)  Needless to say, I walked out of there feeling quite happy:  never before had I gone to see a movie all by my lonesome, but my first time to do so was a success.

Driving home, I turned the radio up loud and sang every word to Shinedown's Second Chance.  Although I don't terribly love that song, the experience was blissful.  All of it -- the dinner, the comfy chair, the movie about Paris, the whole evening -- was absolutely wonderful.  Who's to say a Friday night spent alone is a bad thing?  Au contraire, mes amis.

|| film still via Reverse Shot ||

3 comments:

  1. Beautifully written, Emily! Solitude is a such a powerful, renewing, and affirming gift if you ask me. I'm glad to see that you're learning it at your age! :)

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  2. Hooray! I like that when you post links to your blog on Facebook, it gives me the chance to learn more about you by reading the other posts suggested. I can procrastinate and learn more about you at the same time! I really enjoyed reading this post, even more than I previously would have, because I recently really got into Jane Austen and decided to make more time for pleasure reading, and what I really, really wish I could do right now is go curl up on my couch and read by myself with a cup of tea, but alas, I am at school, working on eval reports/getting on the internet, living vicariously through younger you!

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    1. I always love your comments, Johanna! Isn't Jane Austen great? I'm a huge fan. You should look into reading the Bronte sisters as well! They're brilliant, I tell you. :)

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