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A coffee by the river


The whole morning was weird. I was all over the place: sad, angry, resigned, desperate. While a part of me didn't want to go out, the other part of me couldn't wait to leave the house. "I know! I will take a coffee and get off the bus early to walk through the park!"

I sat on the bench and got my coffee out. I could hear all the snippets of conversations of people going past behind me. Each more distracting than the other one. My thoughts wouldn't settle on anything. The swans flying low, clapping loudly on the water; the pub across the river - was it open for lunch, why was there nobody outside; the dog going past, carrying not one, but two pieces of wood; the man saying he has played tennis all his life; can people tell that I am uncomfortable here?

I sat in this perfect place for half an hour. I sipped on my coffee. I looked at the river flowing. I quietly waited for my inner chaos to settle. I thought it was a shame. Shame on me for not appreciating this moment enough, for not being able to enjoy it. Ungrateful. Never satisfied. Shame on me. What good is this place, this coffee, these yellow shoes and this life to someone so unable, unwilling to be happy?

I wondered then if I was being more pathetic or unkind to myself. I allowed the sadness of the morning to come back just for a second. It felt like a huge blue wave putting out the raging red fire of rage inside me. Because when I allow myself to be sad, I give myself compassion. A permission to feel sad is a kindness we rarely offer to ourselves. "I am just sad", I finally thought to myself.

As I left the bench I felt so clear - so sad, yet so clear. Noises and sights around me didn't feel invasive anymore. I felt sad all over, and feeling this sadness enabled me to feel myself. I knew where my edges were. The sadness was mine and it gave me the sense of reality and identity.

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