Scene: a table at a french restaurant in the Grove, West Los Angeles
“I’ve never had escargot before.”
“Then we’ll get some.” he said as we glanced over the menu.
It was a gorgeous but strange night. I’m not sure how we ended up there exactly. We just sort of… did.
“Why are we in the Valley again?” I asked him on the way here.
“Shit I missed the exit and did it again. Um… where do you want to eat? What kind of food do you want to eat?”
“You had one thing to do today. Just one. It was to pick a restaurant.”
“I know. I fail.”
“Every single date it’s been fail.”
“I know. I’m sorry.”
“At least you’re consistent.”
We laughed. It’s been so much fun with him. I never know what to expect. Everything just flows. This was just comical and borderline routine. Or, as routine as you can get for having so few of dates as we had thusfar.
Of course, that’s not where we were obviously. He turned around and headed back towards Hollywood.
“Today is probably the worst day for fish. It’s not going to be fresh. We should get something else. Let’s just drive until we find something that we want. Or we could go to Animal if it’s not crowded.”
It was crowded.
“Well ain’t that some shit.” he said as we headed back to the car.
We got to Fairfax and I was hopeful and a bit disoriented. It seemed like we had been doing a tour of the city at this point.
“Oh we could go to Father’s!”
“We’re not that far. But oh… there’s a place we can go to in the Grove. Is that ok? Let’s just do that.”
And so we ended up here in front of the fountain in the illustrious and exquisite outdoor mall extravaganza. But not before he got himself a new fancy espresso machine.
“This is the weirdest date ever. They are all the weirdest dates ever with this one.” I texted a friend.
“Sorry about this. I’m sure you have to be bored.” he said mid purchase.
“It’s fine. We could have played it off a bit better though. Pretended we were married again and buying this for our mansion in the hills or something.”
“Yes after our engagement at McDonalds.”
I got trout and he got mussels. His fancy espresso machine was tucked next to me. He sat across from me and grazed on cheeses with honeycomb.
“Here’s your escargot.”
“You don’t have to eat it if you don’t want to.” he told me.
And I thought for a half second about the last suited gent and how he would probably have turned even a slight hesitation with food into a moment of contention.
“My mother told me when I was younger that you should always try food once, and if you don’t like it, you at least have it that you had the guts to try it. That said I’m picky about food but sometimes I enjoy the adventure. Like foie gras. Delectable!”
We took a tangent into fooding. Of Yelp adventures and such anomalies as molecular gastronomy.
“What’s with the face? How do you like it?”
“It’s alright. Not great or terrible. Just… alright.”
“That’s what I thought too the first time I had it. You know in Paris it’s not that big of a deal either. Might as well just go into the garden and get the snails and douse them in garlic and butter.”
I looked up from our dinner to see a couple being disgustingly romantic. Ever so sweet kisses in front of the Grecian fountain paired with a whimsical billowing dress and a gent that could have been out of a movie too.
“We wouldn’t be like that.” I said as I motioned to them. He looked over.
“Well not with you dressed like that. We look like a couple of hipsters right now.”
“I do not.” he said as he wiped a crumb off his sweater and adjusted his glasses.
“Ok so maybe a little.”
And we ended up talking about Paris a bit more.
“You know being in Paris alone is kind of the worst thing ever.”
He was telling me about his trip after his divorce. About how he’d be going back for Cannes.
I was envious.
I still am.
I don’t even own a passport…
I’m dreadfully afraid of the gravity of travel. I fear it would take me away.
And for a few moments as we sat and looked at that couple we were in Paris. But maybe we were both alone.
He didn’t need to outright tell me that the wound still hadn’t quite healed. I couldn’t think about that right now. That was a different moment. It was one that didn’t belong to me.
But did this one?
Will he ever truly be able to forget Paris?