Take one night, add 12 hours on either side of it, never lose focus on the point of it all–to savor enormous quantities of food–and voila, so many lifetimes, lived to their fullest.
Lifetime one: Hug Mr. Restaurant Gal, holding on to him for dear life, not looking back, and pretending there is no tomorrow.
Lifetime two: Notice how much older the ancient cat has become in three months, and not being able to laugh at him any more. Petting his fluffy head, trying to get him to play kitten games, wondering how he’d like apartment life in South Florida, and deciding he’s a D.C. man to the end.
Lifetime three on a glorious day of perfect weather, the likes of which D.C. reliably has only two weeks during the year–the first week in October and the last week of April: Call my Wonderful Friend and ask when we can meet to walk for miles through the city, stopping only to eat the best fries in the entire world. I tell her I’ll be the one wearing a Kansas Jayhawks T-shirt, and she groans.
Lifetime four: Hugging my Wonderful Friend when we meet at the Cleveland Park Starbucks like we always used to, and promptly dissolving into tears like two babies because we have missed each other that much. Eating two pounds of the best fries in the world (dipped in mayo, of course), deciding not to drink bloodies at Pharmacy Bar, glancing at the Crafty Bastards craft show in Adams Morgan, and marching all the way back up Mass. Avenue to the semi-annual Greek Festival at Saint Sophia’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral to buy pastries I cannot eat, but that my Wonderful Friend will have for dinner and breakfast. Miles walked–8. Hours spent together talking nonstop–almost 4. Value placed on this–how much does the sun and moon cost?
Lifetime five: Going to The Palm for the steak and lobster I have been craving for weeks, only to be seated at the worst table (thank you wicked curse of Open Table) with the best server. After slurping oysters on the half shell, drinking a nice bottle of Pinot Noir, the experience of having to send back my initial 2 lb. lobster because it was, well, mushy and wafting a slight aroma of something lobsters shouldn’t, and then having the chef’s sincere apology served up in the form of an exquisite 3 lb. lobster was, after it all, a dinner I will never forget.
Lifetime six: Continuing a night out on the town, kissing Mr. Restaurant Gal very publicly at a bar where I used to work, kissing him again on the sidewalk, and for a much longer time at home at our front door, a display not previously in my character, because my character is nothing like it was three months ago, and because this is the date of a lifetime.
Lifetime seven: The next morning, having coffee and a quick walk with another close, long-time friend who has come up with the perfect description of me and her and my very closest friends: “I am the older sister, you and your best-sister-friend from Montana are the twins, and your Wonderful Friend is our baby sister.” I love her for this view of us as family. An hour later, sitting with Mr. Restaurant Gal in Bethesda in the Tasty Diner’s aged wooden booths to drink steaming coffee, while wolfing down a salsa and cheese omelet and a side order of grits loaded with butter and sugar (yes, sugar–I am not apologizing for this!). While pondering the choices of a table-top juke box, we laugh with one another about how totally and completely hung over we really are.
Lifetime eight: Meeting talented blogger and frequent RG commenter, Jenni, and marveling at her beautiful 4-day-old baby and her gentle and utterly charming older son and daughter and husband. And once again wondering how it is, as I meet a few of my readers, that I have made friends online that I feel as though I have known in person for years. And how they are every bit as wonderful as I imagined them to be.
Lifetime nine: Eating TGI Friday’s burgers and fries and drinking a margarita at Reagan National Airport, trying not to cry knowing I will be winging my way back to my palm-tree paradise in an hour, and yet regaling Mr. Restaurant Gal with details about how much I love my apartment, my neighborhood, my beach, my job. And hugging him and kissing him one last time just before I walk through security, promising him with a smile that I will absolutely spend a fortune to see him again in two weeks.
I am the luckiest cat of all. The way I see it, my nine lives are just the beginning.