Liver and Filet Mignon
morning 5:45 a.m.
sitting on the edge
of the bed, quietly trowelling Maybelline and spackle into the crevices
around my eyes and my mouth. David, as usual, is snoozing peacefully
next to me. While I wait for my face to dry, I pause for a moment and
do that Awwwww isn't he
cute/Just like a little sleeping angel
gazing-at-him-fondly thing that all women do, when someone they love
more than life itself is sleeping beside them.
that he isn't
really asleep, apparently.
Honey," he mumbles
suddenly, as though he sensed me watching him through the thin drooling
veil of sleep. "I love you. Happy anniversary." And then he
drifts off again ... or at least I think
he's drifting off, because his eyes are closed and his mouth is hanging
open a little and he isn't saying anything.
a couple of seconds
later he's back.
you're supposed to
say something nice to me," he whispers, eyes still closed.
love you with my
whole heart," I reply. "Happy anniversary." And I lean over and kiss
him gently on the forehead.
smiles and rolls over
on his side, hiking the comforter up over his shoulders and burying his
face into the stack of pillows. Now I know
that he's drifting back to sleep, because his breathing immediately
begins to slow down and deepen, and his shoulders sag involuntarily,
and his whole body relaxes beneath the comforter ...
except that he's still
not going back to sleep.
actually believed that the liver was the seat of all emotions," he
murmurs drowsily from the other side of the pillow mountain. "So you
should love me with your whole liver, too."
problem," I say.
"Heart. Liver. Pancreas, spleen and appendix, while we're at it. Any
other internal organs I'm overlooking?"
sleepily. "That'll do for now."
And this time he really does drift off,
into a noisy twilight half-sleep for another hour or so, until it's
time for him to get up and begin his own round of grooming rituals, in
preparation for another long day at the office.
* * * * * *
listening to one
of The Mystery Tapes as we drive to work.
of our ongoing
effort to declutter/dejunk/defrag our tiny household has been to weed
out our vast, sprawling music collection. David has been doing his
part: for the past several months he has been busily digitizing old
vinyl records to CD, then selling the vinyl at assorted used record
stores in Berkeley. Anything he doesn't sell gets dumped off at the
thrift store. I've been selling some of my
old music, too ... mostly CDs on Amazon.com. (Although there doesn't
seem to be a lot of call for used Lobo retrospectives, I've
discovered.) This leaves the big stack of unlabelled cassette tapes to
deal with. Recently we've begun listening to The Mystery Tapes in the
car, whenever we're driving around, in hopes of 1.) identifying them,
and 2.) deciding whether they stay in the collection or whether they
get dumped into the recycle pile. Most of them turn out to be David's
stuff: old KFOG-FM radio broadcasts, half-finished mix tapes for
friends in New Jersey, miscellaneous projects that were never completed
one, however, has
the unmistakeable sound of a SecraTape.
think this is a tape
I made for the Grillaz," I say, as Cat Stevens bleeds into Sheryl Crow
bleeds into Fat Boy Slim. I vaguely remember a group project from three
or four years back, when Bottlenekk and Edmund and Feef and I all
decided to swap holiday mix tapes. The point of the exercise was to
include songs that said something about the state of our lives at the
time, plus a couple of favorite Christmas songs thrown into the mix,
just for fun. And sure enough, the jingly-jangly
guitar intro of Elton John's "Step Into Christmas" -- my favorite
Christmas song -- has just begun flooding the interior of the Subaru.
smile at the
incongruity. Here we are, driving to work on a sunny morning in July
... in California .. on our wedding anniversary ... and we're listening
to Christmas music.
sees me loving it
-- he sees me grinning from ear to ear -- and he shakes his head a
little. "I think I've just witnessed the birth of a new 'tradition,'
haven't I?" he says. I nod. From now on: Christmas music becomes a
mandatory part of the wedding anniversary celebration.
* * * * * *
what is the two year
anniversary, anyway?" says The Main Nerdy Geotech Guy. "It's paper,
isn't it? Or is it glass?"
I tell him,
"it's filet mignon."
had promised myself I
wasn't going to go around The Dirt Company today, announcing to
everybody right and left that it's my wedding anniversary. This is part
of my new effort to be more circumspect about my personal life when I'm
at work. (I'll talk about sex and incontinence and uncomfortable
underwear all I please, right here within the safety and the privacy of
the Internet, but when I'm at the office it's going to be all
weather chat/all the time.) So of course
I've been talking about little but
my wedding anniversary since the moment I walked through the door.
says The MNGG,
nodding vigorously. "He's taking you out for dinner. Smart man."
and I have already
agreed that there will be no gift exchange again this year. The usual
reasons: we're too broke, we're too busy to shop, we're too cramped in
our microscopic apartment to add more stuff. "Besides," I told him
again this morning, "just being married to you is *gift* enough."
is a bald-faced lie, of course. One of these days, when we've won the
lottery and we've quit our jobs and we're living a life of luxurious,
obscenely-early retirement, I'm going to insist on red roses and
expensive electronics every July 21st, just like any other red-blooded
American wife on her wedding anniversary. In the meantime, though, I'll
settle for a fancy-pants dinner at our favorite restaurant, Skates
on the Bay.
It's the restaurant where David proposed, a couple of years back, and
ever since then it's sort of become our default fancy-pants *occasion
restaurant* of choice.
about the Pt. Reyes Farmstead Bleu Cheese Salad all day.
says The Main
Nerdy Geotech Guy thoughtfully, attempting to recall the
restaurant. "Skates. Skates on the Bay. It sounds vaguely familiar."
And then his expression suddenly brightens.
I remember!" he
says happily. "Isn't that where Laci Peterson washed
up on the beach?"
* * * * * *
waitress has seated
us at the best table in the entire restaurant: a corner table
positioned directly next to the floor-to-ceiling windows, affording us
a sweeping panoramic view of San Francisco Bay. Or it would
afford us a sweeping panoramic view of San Francisco Bay, if the fog
weren't in this evening. Mostly our *view* is of miles and miles of
choppy gray water, rolling seamlessly into the foggy gray horizon. Even
the Golden Gate Bridge is little more than a ghostly blur in the
distance. (And right next door to the restaurant -- clearly visible
through the fog -- the Berkeley Marina, where Scott Peterson embarked
on his infamous Christmas Eve "fishing trip.")
that's OK. The view
isn't why we're here, anyway. I've got Pt. Reyes Bleu Cheese Salad.
lemonade. I've got filet mignon, being cooked to my exacting
specifications, even as we speak. I've got a handsome husband who loves
me, and we're here celebrating two years of nauseatingly-joyous wedded
I'm poking through
the lettuce leaves, hunting for any remaining chunks of bleu cheese
that may still be lingering there, David reaches into his coat pocket
and withdraws a large white envelope. "This is for you," he says.
frown a little as I
open the card. This is in direct violation of our no-gifts/no-cards
agreement. "You weren't supposed to do this," I scold ... but deep down
inside I'm thrilled, and he knows it, and I know he knows it, and he
knows I know he knows it. He leans back in his chair and smiles
modestly as I read every word of the Hallmark, start to finish. Somehow
he has once again managed to pick just the card that expresses
everything I feel about our marriage. By the time I get to the end of
the poem, where he has signed 'All my love, David,' in his confidently
illegible handscribble, I'm starting to cry.
didn't get you
anything," I sniffle.
OK," he says
sweetly. "Just being married to you is *gift* enough."
* * * * * *
ate too much," David
the bed in our underwear, recovering from the fancy-pants dinner. My
petite filet mignon was precisely that: petite. It was about the size
of my clenched fist, and I have very tiny fists. But it was incredibly
filling, just the same. I ate the whole thing in six succulent,
mouth-watering, $10-a-bite mouthfuls, then spent the rest of the meal
picking at David's green beans and mashed potatoes. He ordered the
phonebook-sized slab of prime rib and powered right through the whole
thing without coming up for air. Plus we both had dessert: key lime pie
for me, a cannoli for him.
either one of us has
to leave the bedroom any time within the next half hour or so, for any
reason at all, we're probably going to have to be air-lifted.
... it was totally
worth it. It was a delicious meal, it was a special evening, the whole
thing was romantic as hell. As long as we don't eat like that every
day, we probably won't have to invite Jenny Craig to move in with us
any time soon.
we were leaving the
restaurant, we passed by the booth where the two of us were sitting the
night David proposed to me, two and a half years ago. "Touch the table
as we walk by," I whispered to David, as we approached the booth.
"It'll be good luck." And he obediently reached out, with two fingers,
and gave the table a tiny *tap* as we passed. (Fortunately there was
nobody seated there at the time.) I followed right behind him and did
tradition* is born.
David flops around
on his side of the bed, trying to get comfortable, I fish around in my
purse and dig out the Hallmark.
years from now," it says,
"when we have come to know each other for a lifetime, promise me that
we'll always love each other the way we do today. Promise me that when
we take a walk you'll still hold my hand, and when I tell you you're
even more beautiful than the day we met, you'll believe me. Promise me
that when we share a bed at night, we'll still hold each other close,
dreaming back on all the memories that we've made. Promise me that even
then, you'll always and forever be my once-in-a-lifetime love."
I feel like I'm
going to start blubbering all over again. No, he didn't write the poem
himself. All he did was go to the drugstore and stand in front of the
greeting card counter and read through 43,897,621 sappy overblown
anniversary cards, one by one, before he finally found the card that
spoke to him, and that he knew would speak to me, and would make me
get all weepy and sentimental, and would make our anniversary dinner
just that little bit nicer. Plus he listened to Christmas music with me
in July, AND
he reached out and tapped the engagement booth when I asked him to.
(And he'll do them both again next year, without even being
Is it any wonder I love this man with my whole heart?
to mention my whole
to throw a rock?