“I still think that Dover sole I had on the last cruise was the best I’ve had yet, how he prepared it in front of me in the lemon and oil sauce. It was to die for; I was hoping my fish the other night was going to be the same.”
“That was on the Celebrity.”
“Yes. I can’t remember fish tasting that delicious. It was in the French dining room, I think.”
Ric and I are having a late lunch at the Olive Garden. No longer available in Canada, the Olive Garden is a bit of a legend at home. We love their garden salads, but other than that, I am limited in what I can eat due to food allergies. Ric can partake of most menu items and today is having a seafood ravioli in a rich cream sauce.
“What are your memorable meals?” I ask him.
“Not this,” he says, indicating his plate.
“No! I’m talking about the ones that stay with you the food is so good. Like those tacos I had in St. Augustine’s.”
“Where was that?”
“Cantino Louis. Maybe what you had wasn’t memorable?” I don’t recall what he had, but I had Surfer Chick tacos, with chicken, pineapple and Sirachi sauce. So good.
“The steak I had in Edmonton at a place called Oliver’s,” Ric moans. “Now that was to die for. I had a pretty good meal in Vancouver at the Boathouse when I was out there too.”
“Then there was that place in Seattle. Ginger something.”
“Wild Ginger! Oh my God that was good.” We went there twice in our short visit.
“I remember the first time I had Thai food in a tiny, hole-in-the-wall place in Toronto. It was so good, those flavours lingered on in my memory for a long time.”
We reminisce over fresh feta and olives in Greece, a mushroom linguine I had in Rome (pre-gluten-free era), and a wonderful lunch on a cliff top overlooking the ocean in Dubrovnik.
Ric and I eat out a lot. It is a solution, albeit naughty, to the chasm that is our differing palates. He likes red meat and seafood, I can eat neither of those. I like curries and vegetarian dishes, preferring Mexican or Thai. It’s not often that both our tastes are met by a single restaurant and typically we eat in Vegan or vegetarian restaurants only about once a year, so mostly, I take what I can get – usually food that lacks imagination.
Maybe that is why I hang onto those memorable dining experiences.
In the upcoming months we are headed to New Mexico, Arizona, and the west coast on up to Vancouver Island. I wonder what delights await us.
Tell me about your best experiences dining out, and if you have any recommendations, I’d love to hear them.
“My dreams have turned violent lately, lots of blood. What could that mean?”
“What does blood represent to you?”
“Well passion, life giving, but these dreams have a woman being decapitated, a baby being cut with scissors, and it always occurs in connection to my childhood home.”
“Not life giving, then.”
“I usually convert the dreams to poetry and at first thought that they might be more societal, but the current ones are getting very personal.”
“Could they be related to the rape?”
I pause to ponder the question. I was abducted by a stranger as a teenager and held overnight in an abandonned farmhouse, until the perpetrator dropped me at the side of a highway the following morning.
“I thought I had worked through all that,” I tell my therapist. “Could these be memories resurfacing?”
“It’s possible. The subconscious does pick its moments. Let’s keep monitoring the dreams together.”
My mom calls later that day. I ask her if I ever witnessed violence as a kid.
“The only things I can think of took place while I was pregnant with you,” she says. “I mean that was a crazy time… even though he had left me, I couldn’t dare tell my first husband that I was pregnant with you…I knew he’d kill me…then your Dad and I won custody of the kids in the divorce trial and I was to get half of the assets of the house…”
I wonder if Mom remembers that I’m on the other end of the phone, she just keeps rattling on as if unwinding a ball of yarn that has been wound tight for years.
“He was a clever one, Reg…waited till your Dad was at work…walked right into the kitchen and came up behind me….I had no time to react…you were in my belly…wanted me to sign over my portion of the divorce settlement…what could I do…I had no choice…same as when he came for the boys…grabbed the baby right out of my arms…I hung on as long as I could, but I knew it was hurting your brother, so I had to let go. He came again another time to see your sisters, but Stan was home then…your Dad dragged Reg out into the yard and beat the crap out of him…what could I do…I had no control.”
She stops here for a moment, then adds: “But you were still inside me…you didn’t witness any of it.”
Didn’t I? How much does a third semester child register of the world beyond the safety of the womb? Could my mother’s emotions have trickled down to me? Questions to ask at my next therapy session.
“A rolling stone,” my father used to tell me, “gathers no moss.”
Is that a good thing, or a bad thing, I often wondered. It certainly defined his life, and seems to have become a fair portrait of my own.
“Never look back!” was another favoured expression. This is harder to do; especially when the past comes calling.
Over the last couple of weeks, I have encountered several people from my past. Ashamed to say, I find this unsettling for a number or reasons, the least of which is the fact that my life is currently at a total standstill: surely, they expected, as I did, that I would amount to more.
I also worry about whether or not I am the same person they once knew – and if my former self had any redeeming qualities, or am I going to have defend previous (continuing) idiosyncrasies; and justify abandonment (perceived or otherwise)?
“It’s not like you weren’t easy to find, had they wanted to,” my husband points out.
It’s true. I am on Facebook, Twitter, and have a blog! So, why now? What possible value can revisiting the past have? Okay, admittedly, I do it every day – in my own mind – but that’s different – it is introspective and highly subjective – and it’s okay if I tear me down.
Do I want to subject myself to objective input? Am I strong enough for that? Don’t people fall out of our lives for a reason? Could there be a purpose for re-uniting? Is it even possible?
If I sound paranoid or a little defensive, it is only a reflection of insecurity. I learned a lot about people when I fell ill. The same happened when I got divorced: relationships disappeared. I have spent a lot of time, in isolation, pondering the meaning of all that.
I do have friendships that have endured through it all, and I treasure those deeply. Maybe this sudden insurgence of past connections isn’t as threatening as my vulnerability suggests. There is a certain synchronicity to it, after all. Could I have left something behind worth reclaiming? Are these renewed acquaintances helping me rediscover what was lost?
I guess only time will tell.