Memory

For our first date, Cisco took me to Greek town for dinner. He was a dreamboat, so my busting excitement combined with a deep fear of eating-related mishaps (spitting in his face, choking on my own spit, fork missing my mouth, mouth full when asked a question, need I go on?) meant that I could hardly swallow. (Never one to keep things simple, it was also important to me that I not be one of those girls who eats like a bird. (Because that would be a lie, because I’ve never eaten like a bird, or even a small flock of them. Lay off me, I’m starving.))

Even with all of this Very Big Drama, I made it through the meal just fine. Cisco pulled out his stud moves and ordered flaming cheese for an appetizer. That’s about all I remember. Also, he brought me yellow roses, and we were like two years old.

That night comes back to me now and again, and brings with it a mix of emotions: relief that I don’t have to go on first dates any more, embarrassment over being such a spazz, and horror at the pig-dog way I eat now. Yeah, that’s what this is about.

When we were engaged some friends were telling us about the perks of marriage, things like, “you get so comfortable with each other you can go to the bathroom with the door open!” For the record, that is a lie. I have not I will not. That thought strikes me with the same level of disgust today as it did then (but to each his own or whatever?). We don’t need to “go” together, we don’t need to clip our nails together, and we should not eat like a barnyard animal. Me, I shouldn’t. Cisco’s table manners are super.

It’s this eating together every night for years… I forget. You know food amnesia? It’s like road amnesia – when you’re driving a car and suddenly you realize that you don’t remember the last ten miles – except with dinner. You’re spacing out, wondering how long that one chandelier shade has had those weird stains all over it, when your eyes shift back into focus and you realize that you’re hunched over your empty plate um… panting. You look up to see Dearly Beloved staring at you, pale and dead-eyed. Time stands still. You swallow.

He smiles weakly, but it’s too late.

It’s too late.

(Music swells and the lights dim as she breaks into poignant but commanding ballad. Scene.)

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