Friday, August 11, 2017

The Last to Know

I made the woman I once aspired to marry want to turn on the waterworks tonight.

After months of not seeing each other, we met up at Laura Lee's for an evening of former bandmates, chicken wings and tomato salad and surprising revelations.

It was while we were digging deep on the scuttlebutt she'd heard about me that we were joined by the director of a certain museum. We offered him the comfort of either/both our laps, but instead he stood, sharing a host of anecdotes about the Monument Avenue public meeting last night, being interviewed by NPR and our illustrious mayor.

So. Much. Dirt.

Once she began digging for the scoop on my personal life, we decided to take our Gruner Veltliner and relocate to the patio for a more in-depth conversation that began with her telling me about a guy she'd been wanting to set me up with for months.

In what was surely a surprise to her, I shared that I'd skipped the matchmaking and made contact on my own back in early June. While she'd been dithering, I'd been getting acquainted.

She minced no words in her assessment: "See? When someone is interested, they show it," which was followed by a sly smile at her husband across the table. "Of course I showed it," he grinned. "I wasn't about to let you get away!"

Anybody got a tissue?

I'd barely gotten into the details of my new situation when she began welling up, saying, "I think I'm going to cry." In 9 years of friendship, I don't think I've ever made her so happy. Of course she had to remind me that everyone knew before her.

Only after we'd dished mightily did we turn to the other guests and join their conversation.

Her former bandmates, meanwhile, were a fascinating bunch who obliged with audio of the band's songs (including digs at the hair band-sounding guitar solo by the guitarist) and frequent references to the seismic shifts in their lives since then.

Because so much deep conversation requires sustenance, we noshed through General Tso's wings, fried oysters and heirloom tomato salad under a gorgeous blue evening sky. She and I were asked about our trip to Memphis and Oxford, Mississippi, dredging up memories of fire truck rides, the Stax Museum and every John Currance restaurant we visited.

Good times.

When I finally got up to go, it was with reluctance (who wants to walk away from four men and the woman of her dreams?) but I was double-booked and had no choice.

Truth be told, a friend from D.C. had also inquired about my dance card tonight, but I'd been unable to accommodate.

Act two involved a short walk with another friend to Jackson's, the new smokehouse and beer garden on Second Street. We made our way through a series of doorways to wind up on the patio, in this case, a high-walled space complete with smoker and fan to disperse the smoke and heat.

All I know is that when I left the restaurant, I reeked of smoke.

The four top at the next table were agog when our bottle of wine arrived because it was inserted into a stone wine tap at our table, the better to serve ourselves, we assumed. The only problem was that it didn't actually keep the wine chilled.

Ah, details.

While I listened to an annotated accounting of my friend's trip to D.C., we made a meal of chicken tacos (meh) and a rack of ribs with collard greens and mac and cheese, but only after our server had brought us samples of four types of barbecue sauce (sweet, spicy, sweet/spicy, smoked) to choose from to accompany our meals.

The walls of the patio may have been high, but the sky was the color of dark blue velvet with a lone star punctuating it and we gabbed about the upcoming Perseid meteor shower and the eclipse that has everyone planning trips south.

We had a nightcap at Lucy's, along with a brassy, loud-mouthed woman who earns a living as a shrimper and her crew, but they cleared out shortly, apologizing for their decibel level.

The owner talked about his upcoming trip to Mexico, the bartender showed off her white lace bolero ("I wear it over everything") and we drank Rose from Provence while having polite conversation of no consequence.

Some evenings begin with heartfelt admissions and end with innocuous blather.

And when it comes to the best dirt, someone has to be the last to know. You just hate for it to be the person who wanted it to happen all along. She swears she told me that, but she didn't.

The good news is, it happened. It finally happened.


  1. Wow.

    wow wow wow.

    I knew why we were never seeing each other... but I never expected to see so much love & happiness appear in print. Someone will be glowing when he reads this.

    I know everyone wants a piece of you - add me to the list. Can we get together for some serious debriefing? Let me know and until then, have a marvelous time getting the love you deserve.

  2. Moved to the top of the list!