A couple of months ago, I wrote about reclaiming my local pub. I haven’t quite gotten there yet. But today marks a milestone in my grief recovery. (Not that grief is something to recover from, I welcome it, a heart-opening experience that honors Nancy and makes me more human.)
I picked up dinner at Grilly’s. Let me explain how wonderful this is. Grilly’s is the nearest place I can get Mexican food, the stuff I grew up on, and Grilly’s VERY good. Informal, inexpensive, community-oriented, mostly a take-out place, food that is delightful, fresh, well-prepared. For perhaps five years, during and after our housebuilding project, we would grab something there as a quick and easy dinner. It was nearly always the same thing, a Chicken Taco Salad and a Steak Quesadilla, which we would split as we argued about lighting fixtures, artwork placement, planned hikes or vacations or whatever. This worked when we were living in our 1BR apartment in San Rafael during construction, when we were coming back from a meeting on the construction site, when we were camping up on the hill above the site, even after we moved into the house, and came home too tired to cook for each other. We grabbed dinner from Grilly’s often, sometimes weekly.
I haven’t been able to go there since October.
So tonight I called Grilly’s on the way home and ordered a Chicken Taco Salad and a Steak Quesadilla. They are sitting here before me, awesome as ever, and I am so happy I could dance like Fred Astaire. I’m not swamped in feelings about my loss, I am happy to have this wonderful food in front of me.
The honest truth is, I am enjoying my evening home alone. January and February, I couldn’t do it, and in fact it’s been hard for me to relax and enjoy a solitary evening ever since my twenties. But the last couple of months, I am welcoming solitude as much as I welcome evenings out with my friends. I’m tending to the balance of how I spent my time, so that I can feel my feelings, and learn more of who I am outside of relationship. It’s not easy to sit in the tension of myself. It would be so easy to spend all my time with friends or doing things to stay distracted.
So there is joy here, as much as sorrow. The food and the smell and the experience of plating it reminds me of all the good times we ate delicious things, drank nice wines, banged our engineering and design heads together, stubborn and negotiatory, making our house better and better. I’m finally feeling some connection between who I am now, a widower blinking my eyes in the sunlight of a new life, and who I was then, the partner of a design perfectionist, creating something that is amazingly cool.
Damn, this food is good.