A local eatery currently has a lobster special–two 1.5-lb Maine lobsters for a ridiculously low price. I love lobster. I think I love the melted butter in which one dips the lobster more than the lobster itself, but the combination of the two makes it an all-time favorite meal of mine.
I have visited this eatery eight times in two weeks to partake of this special. If one does the math that I am reluctant to calculate, it means I have I have eaten 16 lobsters in roughly 14 days. Apparently, this has not gone unnoticed by several of the eatery’s regular patrons and more than several of its servers.
“Weren’t you just here two days ago for lobster?” asks one regular on this night, a man whose name don’t know, but who I always see holding court with other regulars at the same table every time I am there.
“Hi, nice to see you again! Let me guess, you want the special and you don’t need a menu,” laughs the server who has served me more than twice.
“Oh God, I really am ‘Lobster Girl,’ to these folks, and I don’t even know them,” I say to my friend who is quite happy to enable me to imbibe in what has become a crustacean habit in need of a 12-step program to break.
“I told you this would happen,” she laughs.
We talk and drink wine and smoke cigarettes as she nibbles a small salad and I crack four claws and two tails. I am not embarrassed by this discrepancy in our food intake. I am, instead, emboldened by it. If I am now known as a regular in another spot beyond my beach bar simply for my love of a lobster, that’s okay by me.
I ask my friend to join me after dinner at my beach bar, but she declines. She promises we will do it another time. How did she know this would be the night that would light up my shaken life, but only if I tackled it solo? How can a person whom I have only met a few times be someone who knows me well enough to intuitively know this? How lucky am I to have so much luck in my life that she and several other girlfriends are a part of year two of the life I am continuing to try to pull together?
When I arrive at my beach bar, the parking lot is jammed. The attendant, who knows me on sight, motions me to park in a non-spot up front in which I have only ever seen one other car–the boy’s. Well, I figure, the boy’s not here and I am, and who cares anyway? I give the attendant an extra few dollars above the flat parking rate, which is all the cash I have, because I figure it is only right to share luck in someone else’s life at the exact moment it is figuring into mine.
I thought I was only meeting one of my other new girlfriends, but instead I am greeted by a table of many others who surround her. Here they are, the expanded cast of regulars, from the boy’s friend who is now my friend to the so-mean other friend of the boy who mistakenly assumes he will be my friend again, and all the others in between.
Everyone’s mood seems as light as the breeze that feels almost fall-like. A lantern’s flickering light paints the tabletop in soft hues of golden orange and yellow. I gaze at these eight or so people for a moment, marveling that I feel very much a part of their group. Someone moves aside and I slip into a chair. A glass of wine appears simultaneously in front of me. I am stuffed with lobster and sated with a quiet peace. I count the lucky stars that shine in the night sky above the ocean.
When the boy walks in with his new girlfriend, the night’s magic doesn’t fade. When he walks over to our table and stands directly behind me with his girlfriend now pressed to his side and attempts to introduce her, the night’s aura never dims. Because luck is on my side.
And just as suddenly as he swept into our realm, the boy moves away from the table. Moments later I watch as his new girlfriend walks out, alone. Seconds later the boy follows her, and, after a brief discussion on the sidewalk with his friend who is now my friend, they walk away, gone for good. My luck, it seems, is keeping me safe from all hurt.
“You know Andrew asked him to leave,” my girlfriend tells me two glasses of wine and several hours later.
“He told him what he was doing wasn’t right with you here, and that it was incredibly awkward and just wrong. ‘It would be best,’ he told your boy, ‘If you leave right now.’ He didn’t want you to know he did this, but I thought you should.”
I am speechless. I am astounded. But mostly, I am deeply touched by this unexpected show of chivalry and friendship.
Later, as the night winds down and each of us bid one another good night, I hug the boy’s friend who is also my friend.
“Thank you,” I whisper to him.
“Hey,” he smiles, “Who loves you more than I do?”
“My kids, at least most of the time,” I laugh. “And if you ever need a kidney…”
“Hey, it’s okay,” smiles the boy’s friend who is my incredibly great friend on this lucky night.
The start of my second year here feels nothing like the first. Slowly, steadily, I am discovering that some pretty good folks surround me. Through the laughs we share, the wine with which we toast each other, and the ocean breezes we never fail to appreciate, my luck is being nurtured as is the healing in my heart.
As luck would have it, I am starting to get how lucky I am.