She slept well past noon until the sun was perfectly positioned in the sky causing the thermometer to read 99 degrees. All it took was a surprise email, a shower and some lipstick to turn her frown upside down. She decided that today, she would live.

She dressed in a strapless silk jumpsuit and her favorite sandals. Her curls are less than perfect, but after an entire week of avoiding hairstyling, what should one expect? Out the door, to the car. A quick stop at the library inspires an impromptu photo shoot. Thirty minutes of bumper to bumper traffic and a passionate pep talk later, she walks in the front door of Saltgrass Steakhouse.

“Table for 1, please.”

She studied the menu prior to her arrival so she walks in and immediately orders what piqued her interest.

Texas Tea: Long Island ice tea with a kick.

Range Rattlers: Somehow they wrap a pepper around a stuffed jumbo shrimp and fry it. Perfection.

Seafood Fondeaux (because in Louisiana everything has a Cajun twist): Crawfish & Shrimp Queso!

She nibbles on each and asks for a box to pack it up. Saltgrass is known for their steaks. Should she indulge? She sits and chats with a Mother/Daughter duo at the bar. Smiles are exchanged and suddenly she forgets she was ever sad.

Sip… Sip… Sip… Smile. She finds it difficult to maintain a sour mood when upbeat country music is blasting & laughter is filling the room. She’s glad she came, but naturally her thoughts begin to race. “Wouldn’t it be great to come here on a date? I wonder what people think of me sitting her alone. Should I play on my phone, or watch the big screen?” In an effort to stop the broken record in her mind from playing, she begins to observe. “The bartender is so sweet. She’s chatting with her patrons while simultaneously stepping away to have her lunch. I remember those days, working through breaks and eating at the desk. I don’t miss it one bit.

As the bartender walks away, she’s reminded of how she got this seat at this restaurant on this particular evening. A client was pleased with some design work and sent a gift card over to say thanks. That’s how life works when it’s lived fully. We perfect our gifts and allow them to lead us places and provide for us. Date Night isn’t limited to an outing between romantic partners. Date Night happens whenever love decides to spend time with itself.

She orders salmon & garlic mashed potatoes to finish the balance of the gift card. What a blessing! Drinks, appetizers and an amazing meal and she didn’t have to share her space or jeopardize her mood for it. “I could do this everyday.” She thinks to herself.

She is me, and I Am Eryka. Today I conquered my fear of being alone. I dressed up. I went on a date. I ate food I enjoyed. I smiled. I laughed. I loved. Most importantly, I was present with myself. Walking out of Saltgrass feels like crossing a finish line of sorts. I am not ashamed to say that I enjoy myself. I am my own best companion. I can do this all the time, and I will.

I am Eryka

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