I’ve never been to her favorite restaurant. We’ve talked about it many times, but we haven’t gone there for a meal yet. It’s a very nice place, she tells me. It’s a place where a meal has a real sense of occasion.
And it’s a place where she went for memorable meals with a person she was once engaged to.
That’s not the biggest reason we haven’t gone to her favorite place. Mostly, it’s because we don’t go out to eat. We visit a restaurant before or after we’ve done something else that we’ve gone out for: to see a show, for instance. Her place isn’t somewhere you go to grab a bite before the show. When we do go there, it will an occasion, not a meal to rush through. We’ll go there, in part, to create new memories–to reclaim that restaurant for herself, and for us.
We met a friend for dinner last week before a rehearsal. He chose a Japanese restaurant we knew he liked. We liked it, too, and not simply because it was conveniently down the block from the rehearsal space. We’d gone there after a performance once–with him, and with the woman he was then dating. Subsequently they became engaged, but that relationship recently, suddenly, and very painfully ended. This was the first time we were seeing him since the breakup.
Dinner was excellent, maybe the best sushi I’ve ever had. The fish was meltingly tender, incredibly fresh, and perfectly seasoned by the sushi chef. The addition of extra soy sauce or wasabi was thoroughly unnecessary. I’m glad the food was so good, but I wouldn’t have cared if I’d been served a bowl of Cheerios that had been left out in the rain.
He may chosen the place because of its location, or because he especially likes the food there, but we hope it was because he wanted to reclaim the restaurant as his, rather than theirs. Although the memory of having dinner with a hurting friend isn’t exactly a joyous one, it’s one that we will cherish. We may not always think of this restaurant as the place where he told us what happened, but at least it won’t any longer be the place we went with them.