Fifteen minutes later I was in her van and we were heading ...where? We decided to go to a favorite place amongst my friends "nearby" (relatively speaking...in a place where nothing is nearby) and on the way there decided to pull out all the stops and actually eat dinner there. So we did. The restaurant was small, intimate and FULL of people. Every table was occupied by midway through our meal...And shortly after we'd arrived, I began to be uncomfortable. A table next to ours was occupied by three individuals, two of them young. And I definitely felt their eyes on us; on me. I wondered "What??? What am I doing wrongly?" I rearranged my sweater which had pulled up a bit in the back...and did my best to eat neatly and to keep my elbows off of the table. But their eyes were not shifting from me...except when once in a while they would exchange comments with each other which I couldn't quite hear except for an occasional word...And I knew their discussion was about me.
As I worried intensely about this, I simultaneously felt the eyes of the threesome at the other table unswervingly studying me and my level of discomfort rose...as did my panic...to a point that became downright miserable. I wondered, "Could this be paranoia?" But I was sure of what I'd seen and heard ...and there was no escape. My friend chatted on about her life and I tried to focus on her and on what she was saying and on the food...but suddenly I was not hungry anymore--and the plate was still more than half full. And try as I might, my attention was fixed on the couple behind her; not on her or her words. (Sorry K.)
Abruptly the strangely silent group of three got up and left the restaurant. My wonderings about them continued fora few minutes- by now my suppositions were bordering on the (ok--they were already) absurd. But then my attention was diverted about ten minutes later as the couple in back of K also got up and exited. My relief was palpable. And I thought to myself..."See? Those were the only two tables in the restaurant I was worried about...Now I can enjoy myself...If it had been paranoia, I'd be worried about the others here."
I enjoyed myself for maybe 3 minutes when a word from the table to my right caught my ear. It was out of context from the rest of the sentence due to my poor hearing...but it was not a flattering word...and I'm sure there was a "she" preceding it. I raised my eyes and looked at the woman who'd spoken it. Her eyes were also on me. We both averted our gazes and once more, the panic rose in me. Fortunately our meal was about done and we were preparing to leave...I couldn't get out fast enough. I confessed my attack of paranoia to my friend who understood such things; and told her how miserable I'd been. She said, "Oh no! I thought you were in pain because you were quiet."
And in fact; I had been.
Paranoia is a real pain.
I went home, for once glad to be going there and prepared for bed....but I woke an hour after I'd slept...coughing and feeling a familiar burning in my sinuses. For the rest of the night I struggled to breathe, asthma acting up as it has been lately, and irritated by a horrible steady post nasal flow from my sinuses. By morning there was no doubt. I'm sick again. Evidently my recent sinus infection was not cured but merely temporarily alleviated by the antibiotics. It has returned with a vengeance...I should have also heeded a bad rattle and ragged cough I'd had lately...because my chest is involved in it this time.
You'd think I'd learn to recognize them sooner.
You'd think I'd prepare myself against them and take immediate action when they begin to reveal themselves.
But I'd been feeling better lately. So they blindsided me.