What you see pictured here is not my most inspired creation, nor the most aesthetically appealing dish to grace our table, nor the most perfectly seasoned. In literal terms, its roasted pears and fennel, with a bit of balsamic and a healthy dose of blue cheese, intended to top a salad of mixed greens. In not so literal terms, it is love.
There are, as our mother has astutely noted, some times in life when you find yourself, for some reason unknown to any but the deepest, most primitive, wisest, most tucked-away part of your soul, taking a mental snapshot of a moment. Years ago, before the Boyfriend was even a twinkle in my eye, before I could even imagine imagining where we'd go, when all I knew was that around him I laughed harder and wilder than with anyone else, producing snorts and whoops and wheezing I barely knew I was capable of--one night, I sat across from him at a rehearsal table and before my mind had a chance to process it, before it had even occurred to me (I swear!), a tiny voice I didn't even recognize as my own, peeped up from inside me and told me that some day I would kiss this person and that it would change everything. I remember that moment. I remember where I was sitting in the room. I remember what our chairs looked like. I remember the wood grain on the table. I remember the lights from the windows of the apartment building across the street.
Years from now, I will close my eyes and call up a snapshot of our dinner table. I will remember the candles. I will remember the light blue of the napkins we always use. I will remember dipping our hands into a giant bowl of mussels, trying, as we always do, to eat slower. Talking, as we always do, between bites of broth-soaked crusty bread. Laughing, as we always do, our mouths full.
I will not, however, remember this salad.
We never ate it.
For once in my life, I was actually too happy to finish a meal.
And so was The Fiance. :)