Monday, October 11, 2010

Three Meals in the Life of a Marriage

Monterrey, California

I sat at a table with my husband of two days, watching the fog billow out like a skirt. As I held a glass of California Chardonnay, by the stem, like I had studied, I watched him gaze towards the water. Seagulls cawed in the distance, as the waves, one stroke at a time, sculpted the rocks. He smiled to himself and inhaled deeply.

When we had discussed places to honeymoon, Monterrey seemed to be a logical choice. We could drive there, and Paul knew the place well---he had lived there for a year when he was studying Korean. He spoke of it with the foggy half-memory of a dream---the barking seal lions, the sourdough bread bowls, and the mornings kissed with the sea's salt. He wanted me to see it, and love it, as he did.

We ordered  what very well may be the world's most perfect food---mussels, cooked in white wine, butter, and garlic---with a crusty loaf of bread to sop up those glorious flavors. We ate, held hands, stole glances at each other's new wedding rings, and wove a future together. 

Tucson, Arizona

Although our days were dedicated to studying business at the University of Arizona (Paul), and teaching seventh graders to appreciate poetry (Me), our evenings were all about Frank. 
Frank Sinatra, to be specific. 

Each Wednesday evening, we would meet at Frog and Firkin, a British-style pub on University Avenue. We sat under the awning, amidst the tattooed, nose-pierced college students, drinking Guinness Stout, so perfectly poured that you could eat the foam with a spoon. We ordered pizza and garlic fries, and talked to our friends about politics and travel and books and, yes, jazz music. 

As the sun began to descend, turning the sky to the purple, dry holiness of a desert sunset, Frank began to sing. 

In real life, Frank was some guy with a day job, but on Wednesday evenings, it was Ol' Blue Eyes. 

All conversation halted as he crooned, "Fill my heart with song/Let me sing forevermore." 

I rested my head on Paul's shoulder and relaxed into his warmth. As I held his hand, I thought, "You are all I long for, all I worship, and adore." 

Calvert County, Maryland 

We kissed the boys goodbye, thanked my mother, and hightailed it to the least kid-friendly place we could imagine: Sakura. Surely, nobody under the age of ten would be at a sushi restaurant.
Paul had introduced me to sushi years ago, partly by coaching me past my instinctual gag reflux: "Swallow it! It's just a California Roll! You're not even eating fish!" 

It took awhile, but now I will eat the real-deal--urchin, eggs, even tentacles.

We ordered our platter of sushi, and talked about his work, our boys, running---the normal things we discuss when we're able to complete an entire thought without a youngster piping in about dump trucks. We laughed, we touched each other's hands, we teased.

I watched this man talk, still in love with his quiet sense of self, his intelligence, his compassion. His eyes are still as blue as the ocean, and as warm as the desert at dusk. 

It doesn't matter where we eat. I will never be hungry when I'm with him.


Shell said...

So beautiful. I love hearing about couples still in love.

The Blogging Goddess said...

That is a spectacular post. And, it.

Anonymous said...

I echo the above sentiments except for one or two things.




Ash said...

I hope your husband reads you blog :-)

And I often wonder, can seventh graders truly appreciate poetry? You're a brave gal.

clearness said...

Nice dinners with your husband. During our honeymoon, Kevin and I went to a really nice place. I'll remember it forever. We were even placed in the prime seats with a panoramic view of the ocean. We got so lucky, and I'm fortunate.

SamiJoe said...


Dinners without discussion of dump trucks or dolls are awesome!

Ms. Moon said...

Thank-you. Not that you wrote that for me, but because what you wrote reminded me of things I needed to remember.

Aging Mommy said...

Lovely post Nancy - you are so very lucky to have found someone to share those special meals and all the days of your life with.

Kori said...

Maybe I am just overly sensitive today but this post brought tears to my eyes; you are both so blessed, and your writing? Exceptional.

MiMi said...

What a beautiful post!

Matty said...

A delightful romance. No matter the situation, you and Paul appreciate the special times you have together. The two of you are a perfect compliment for each other. Wonderful story Nancy.

Matty said...

A delightful romance. No matter the situation, you and Paul appreciate the special times you have together. The two of you are a perfect compliment for each other. Wonderful story Nancy.

Grimmgirl said...

Very nice -- We honeymooned in Monterrey as well. When we went, there seemed to be a Thomas Kincaid gallery on every corner, and we never did find just the right food to eat. I like your experience better!

Minivan Lover said...

Thoughtful, sweet and comforting. Too many women spend too much time bitching about their husbands.

Anonymous said...

Oh, man. 3 things:

1) You are such a genius writer. I always want to come read your stuff. It's always better than the last thing you wrote (which strikes me as unbelievable since the last thing you wrote was so great).

2) Mmmm. Sushi.

3) This post makes me wanna go to eHarmony and sift through my 186 new matches (no lie, I just looked it up to be accurate) that I haven't even viewed because I haven't been to the site in WEEKS. Thanks.

Coby said...

I loved this - it brought tears to my eyes - remembering how simple and sweet things were before kids, how I love our relationship now that we have kids, and how I need to reconnect with Hubby - away from home, away from the kids.

This was beautiful.

Florida Girl Meets the Midwest said...

Sign me up for the garlic fries and jazz music. And the Sinatra.

Sounds divine.

shortmama said...

Just beautiful!

TKW said...

What a sweet tribute to your husband! I have to agree that mussels and bread are the ultimate love food!

Michelle Pixie said...

Beautiful! Beautiful! Beautiful!

I felt as if I was right there with you. I feel the same about my husband.

I have to say I love Monterrey! One of my most favorite place in the whole world. And as for no kids eating sushi...Mine go nuts for sushi. If you ask them where they want to go for a special dinner they will always pick sushi and they eat all of it as well!

Salt said...

This gave me chills. I always want to feel this way about my husband. :) (I'm sure I will...he's a great guy.)

It also made me hungry. Mussels? Sushi? YUM.

Joann Mannix said...

What a beautiful tribute, your enduring love played out in some of your most memorable meals.

You made me miss Monterey with your captivating talk of garlic and mussels and the sea.

I would give anything to have half your gift and it is such a gift, Nancy.

Maggie May said...

This is the duration I desire.

Congratulations, and lovely.

Anonymous said...

quiet, sweet, simple. i like it very much.

Organic Motherhood with Cool Whip said...

This post was so touching and beautiful. I love your love story.

On a totally separate note, I went to U of A for grad school to get my MFA in creative writing. When were you there? I graduated in 2000. Were we there at the same time by chance??

Unknown Mami said...

Good lord, why didn't I marry you?

Marla said...

This is beautiful

Danica-Dragonfly said...

This was the most beautiful thing I have read in a long time.