“I think about moving to Santa Barbara,” he replies. My heart skips a little beat. He cannot leave! My New York is not the same without him. “Oh really? Sounds nice, when would you go?” I ask SOOO calmly that I WONDER who I am. “It is nice, have you been?” he asks. “I have been to San Diego, LA and the Bay Area several times,” I reply. “I actually think Carmel would be nice – someday – when I sell my company,” he says. “When will that be?” I ask, again calm, again scaring myself. “I don’t know,” he says. “Maybe five years, maybe 10.” The demented part of me thinks, okay great, maybe in five years he and I will want the same thing.
When our food comes, my salad and his cassoulet, he puts some on a spoon and sets it on the side of my plate. “You must try this – it is wonderful,” he says. “What is it? I don’t eat beef,” I say. “I know you don’t, just try it,” he replies. Okay? Does he REALLY remember things about me? So I take a bite and it is heavenly. A stew of beans and pork – it is warm and rich. I inhale it in two bites (I am sure that was attractive) and then with a piece of bread I mop up the sauce on my plate.
“Well?” he asks and studies me; a small smile curls on the corners of his lips. “I have never had this before and it was delicious,” I reply. “Did you see how fast I ate it?” I ask. He nods and laughs, “Please, have more, there is plenty,” he says. “Oh no, I am fine,” I insist. He puts another spoonful on my plate. So of course I cannot resist. I eat it. In the manner of a pusher, he puts a third spoonful.
OMG. Soon I am eating out of his bowl, with him, and he seems to like it. And OMG. I suddenly am starving, for food, real food. Since I started packing, I had stopped eating. Not on purpose, but with the working all day, packing all night, and then just trying to live – I think I started to survive on fumes, the occasion slice of pizza here, a sandwich there and a shit ton of Diet Coke. This is the first real food I have eaten in weeks.
At some point I set my spoon aside because I begin to feel full. “I think I ate half your dinner,” I say. “I don’t mind you seem to enjoy it,” he says. “Well, what’s not to enjoy?” I ask. “Yes, I agree,” he says and I have no idea what he is referring to, the food or me. And I don’t want to know – for once I would like to believe it is me!