Tuesday, December 6, 2016

The Heart Wants What It Wants

The best relationships are the ones you never saw coming.

Clocking in at 3 1/2 hours from start to finish, tonight might just be a date speed record, at least as far as my evenings go.

Besides a compliment about my dress and the opening sarcasm of "Long time, no see" from staff, Secco delivered the lovely and fruity Rolet Cremant Brut Rose, za'atar spiced almonds with sea salt (and the satisfyingly oily accompanying fingertips) along with house-smoked char salad with cured lemon, chives and creme fraiche smeared on crisped baguette slices.

The three large photo enlargements on Secco's walls took on new meaning when I learned that they were old black and white photos of the owner's parents engaged in being social, whether drinking, playing piano or cradling a cat in pearls.

And while I love them, my parents were never so cool as to have such pictures taken of them and this, perhaps, is why I'm unlikely to own a bar.

The music meandered from the XX to Pink Martini-ish as the place gradually filled up around us and countless dogs walked their owners down Robinson Street.

Lemon Cuisine provided a low-key dinner in a dining room that favored non-Indians when we arrived yet boasted a majority native advantage by the time we finished an hour and a half later.

My seafood kad hai of shrimp, ginger, tomato paste and spices set to medium heat was offset by garlic naan and a casual catch-up session with a white blend in our glasses.

I was home so early that a favorite person spotted me online and was quick to ask, "Back from your date already?" What, everyone isn't home by 9:01 after a date?

Fortunately, a romantic reward awaited me with an email from a friend sending me scads of fabulous photos from his secret wedding last Thursday.

We aren't posting them on social media yet, but I thought you would enjoy them!

That's putting it mildly. I was the one he'd come to when he'd first met the love of his life at a New Year's Eve party, seeking my advice about how to woo her. I coached him through a very successful Valentine's Day the next month and she was soon hooked.

Now, less than two years later, they've tied the knot and are off to South Africa to celebrate their love with wine and new adventures. This charming man told me he plans to raise a glass of Pinotage to me and my assist in winning her.

Meanwhile, I envy them every second of it.

Just last week, he'd shown me a note she'd written him pre-wedding, telling me, "I am so in love with this woman" and my heart had melted at his happiness. It's impossible to imagine someone saying the same about me, young or old.

Back in October, I'd been at a dinner with this adorable couple along with three middle-aged friends - one new, two long-time and all divorced. The lovebirds had been excitedly sharing their wedding and honeymoon plans while we more seasoned types basked in their glow.

A few days later, my new friend marveled at the irony of such optimism about their relationship with its wide-open future, especially when surrounded by people who'd already repeatedly failed at love.

Although he was unsure whether to be encouraged by it, I insisted that their passion for what could be should be contagious, regardless of age.

Remember what the Wizard of Oz said? Hearts will never be practical until they are made unbreakable.

Even in this new world order, hearts still break which tells this optimist that all things remain possible. I just don't expect to see it coming.

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