She walks into the great hall full of women, feeling very alone.
Will anyone have a seat open? One that’s not saved for their best friend? Will they talk to me? Will they like me?
She walks around the many full tables with her plate of food in her hands. Tables surrounded by women busy with their various conversations.
Will someone invite me to sit? Will someone even glance my way?
Finally she approaches the back of the room where there are some seats open. She wonders if she should just sit at the empty table and see if others come, or try to sit by a stranger and overcome that social awkwardness that always overcomes her.
She sees someone glance her way.
“Do you need a place to sit?”
“Yes, is there a seat open?”
“Yes, I just need one for a friend so you can have this one.”
The pressure relieves. Someone noticed her. Someone cared.
Then, a new pressure builds up.
What will I say next? I need to connect.
“Where are you from?”
The conversation rolls somewhat smoothly from there. Then the friend arrives.
She wonders if that’s the end, when suddenly she is introduced.
The conversation continues until the dinner is over and the teaching session is about to begin.
They must move to a different room, find different seats.
The table full of women say to each other, “It was nice meeting you.” Then they part ways.
They all move in the same direction, toward the next room.
She wonders where to sit now.
She stands at the door, looking.
She does not recognize any familiar faces.
Then she spots one, the women who invited her to the table.
Do I dare ask to invade her space again?
Is that asking too much?
She walks forward, “Can I sit by you?”
Then seconds of anticipation. Will she be accepted?
To the other woman this is no big deal, just an off-handed answer.
But to the lonely woman this is one step closer to making a friend in a room full of strangers.
Have you ever felt like the lonely woman?
Have you ever been the woman who offers a seat?