The Cheesecake Factory
First of all, you should know I'm from El Paso and currently living in El Paso, and there is no Cheesecake Factory here. I had a 5 year stint in Dallas that I will always treasure as I save money to make my way back soon, but that's a different story for later.
A semester or so into my classes at the Art Institute of Dallas, I met this guy. Interesting adventuring veteran who was way too loud and talkative most of the time, but I usually go for those who get my attention. (I'm still learning to sort those who get my attention being obnoxious and those who are positively impressive.) This story isn't about him. Frankly, I'd rather just gloss over that time. Fast forward to when I knew I needed space from the relationship and I began looking for peace for myself, some solitude. That's when I started going on what I call "solo dates" to the Cheesecake Factory off Northwest Hwy.
One of my closest long time friends, who didn't even live in Dallas, would "accompany" me via text. Like, I wanted to be alone but not completely, and, if not completely, then with someone I already know I love and trust, you know? I would go to this restaurant alone, sit in one of those small two-seater booths, order a slice of cheesecake I fancied at the moment along with a soda, and just be present there with my friend in text.
Looking for peace was a concept I didn't know I wanted to search for. Life is a chaotic mess and I was used to my environment resigning itself to the chaos instead of stabilizing. My go-to slice of cheesecake was the red velvet. I still am very much drawn to red velvet cake. Yes, it's chocolate dyed red essentially, but it was my best friend for those moments where I didn't have to worry about the troubles at home. My reward for time alone. My reward for realizing I could do so much better with just myself and, someday, the right people. Other times I would get a slice of pumpkin cheesecake, which makes me feel warm and peaceful in the same but a more festive way.
Always take a moment for yourself. You don't have to overdo it to "make up for lost time".
Simply, grab a slice for now.