Friday, March 28, 2008

my home ghost

It’s a really bad sign when you can’t enjoy the one thing that has always cheered you up.

Whenever I reach That Point – when I can break out in tears, turn to pyromania and/or slice various things, living or otherwise, that fall upon my path – a nice meal, on my own, always seem to keep me away from your evening news. Yes, glorious, life-saving, food.

But as I took a bite of that wonderfully baked garlic champignons with spinach and cheese à la raclette, tears welled up. And not just because I had burned my tongue.

“How izcit?”, the very pretty French waitress asked me in broken English. I nodded as I squinted one eye (the teary one) and tried to create an air passage to ease the burn in my mouth, and created instead a burn in my throat (because it's impolite to eat with your mouth open, especially when someone is talking to you.) Seemingly satisfied to make her customers painfully pleased, she walked away and seated a loud couple a few tables away from mine.

He’d enjoy this, I couldn’t help thinking to myself.

From where I sat, I couldn’t tell what my new fellow diners looked like but they sounded slightly, for lack of a more flattering word, pudgy. There was weight and heaviness to their tone - hoarse and tired, for all the volume exuberated. Their cheerful chit-chat quickly turned to growing resentment as my steak, perfectly rare, with frites & watercress, was presented before my hopeful hunger. “I know you don’t like them, but they’re still my family!...”, the lady spoke out, so defensively, I turned my head. She had curly hair. “And there’s no need for you to be so rude! Especially in front of me!”, she continued.

So some couples have more serious issues....

Still, the thought didn’t help me enjoy as I could this 7oz of juicy dead meat, the sweetness of which hasn’t melted in my mouth in months. Bastard. Because as I sat there, sipping the nice glass of red and guiltily amusing myself in eavesdropping, I know he is at home, sulking in his bowl of homemade fried rice. And though his fried rice is pretty good, somehow indulging an overpriced meal out without him, in spite of him, just doesn’t seem fair. Even if he started it. And slammed the door behind me when I continued.

“Fucking bastard”, the pudgy-sounding man shouted in tandem, but unrelated, with my head. He then mumbled something underneath his breath, quite angrily I noted, and shuffled loudly various things, the salt and pepper grinder probably, on the table. “And that’s how you speak of my family…”, surly curly lady sadly pointed out. An icy silence ensued, interrupted only intermittently by the restaurant manager asking the pretty French waitress to clean up just as the last customers left so they could all leave sooner, to which she replied ‘it donne madderre to mi - shure, but it donne madderre eder wé…’.

It doesn’t matter indeed.

I finished my steak, satiated, asked for the dessert card but didn’t order any. “I’m just going to finish my wine, thank you”.

I just wanted to go home. Wherever that was.

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