Look, I know it’s a break-up song, but it came on randomly while we were eating lunch at Shiro’s and somehow made my fried noodles/mochiko chicken plate taste 65% better, and the chorus is a simple yet effective declaration of love. Also, I like it.
We’re slowly trying to check off the slots on our list of Oahu’s best restaurants. That’s how Lynnette and decide where to eat for occasions like birthdays, Valentine’s Day, and our anniversary. Yelp led us to Le Bistro. I did a quick scan of the menu to be sure that there were actually things on it that I would eat. Look, I’m a simple guy, whenever we go to someplace that could be considered fine dining or features the word French, I have to check. I saw things like “Quartet of Beef” and “Rack of Lamb,” so I knew I was good. Lynnette was also excited because that is her default emotional setting to eating, but especially at nice restaurants that she has never been to.
We found Le Bistro in a small strip mall in Niu Valley. We were seated quickly and Lynnette selected a bottle of wine just as quickly. I can’t blame her, I love excuses to defy our usual behavior, too.
Lynnette and I savor eating dinner out without having keep an eye on someone or tell someone “we’re still in a restaurant” or “this is not a playground.” Sure, our conversation inevitably circles back around to Madison, but for an evening, it’s a welcomed change. Lynnette wore a long dress and I wore dress shirt and khaki slacks. The reviews said the place was “dressy,” so you can imagine my surprise when I saw the servers wearing dark wash jeans. “C’mon,” I said, lamenting the fact that wearing what I did necessitated that I tuck in my shirt which in turn left very little to the imagination as far as the dimensions of my stomach are concerned.
To my surprise, there were several items on the menu which appealed to me, but it became clear that I wouldn’t be able to eat them all. On our way into the restaurant, Lynnette gave me the rundown on some of the more popular dishes, including something called the Beef Quartet. Perhaps because I was driving and also because Lynnette is not a trained food server, her description of this dish did not move me in any way. When our server described this dish, however, I felt as if God had hand-delivered this dish from on high just for me. Because I am not refined or schooled in high-end food, all I heard was: Something, something, something rib-eye. Blah, blah, blah, filet mignon, blah. Meow, meow, kobe, meow-meow. Pew, pew, pew, short ribs, pew, pew, pew!” Our server left. “I’m going to get the Beef Quartet,” Lynnette said. “What the hell?” I wanted to say. “Really?” I said. “Everyone knows red meat is my thing!” I wanted to say. Lynnette tried to backpedal, but I told her she could eat what she wanted. I meant it. But I was sad, too.
I have to be honest. When our entrees were brought to the table, I was shocked. In my experience, whenever entrees are priced as they were last night, the portion sizes are small and served on massive dishes which make them look even smaller. So that’s why was I was pleasantly surprised when I saw all the food.
Lynnette made noises which could have been perceived as obscene as she ate her food. My Colorado lamb came in four pieces, each sitting atop a different garnish. The potato is amazing.
As you know, I was raised on burgers, tacos, and pizza, so it goes against my instincts to pay this kind of money for this kind of food. It’s gotten easier for me to enjoy meals like this as I’ve gotten older and we’ve slowly financially stabilized, but even less the cigarettes, my tongue isn’t all that discerning. But the quality and quantity of the food assuaged all of my concerns. It was a great dinner and about halfway though, I thought dessert might be a impossibility.
After dinner, our server brought out creme brulee (on the house!) to help us celebrate our anniversary. That’s a nice touch, Le Bistro. Anyway, I pulled my phone out to take a picture of Lynnette and she said “Collarbones!” and smiled like this.
The back story: last week when we were slogging through Insanity, Lynnette said “I miss my collarbones.” “What?” I said. “I used to be able to see my collarbones,” she said. I looked off into the distance, trying to remember. “Oh, yeah!” I said. In my head, I could see a thin Miss Lynnette smiling up at me. Below the smile, contours at the base of the neck. It was like someone broke some kind of memory-block scaffolding in my head. I suppose Lynnette’s collarbones are spending time with my jawline.
I don’t know how we ended up here. I mean, technically, if I try hard enough, I remember how we met, how we got together, how we got married, and how we had a kid, and how we got fat. All of it had a lot to do with Diner’s. That much I know. It’s just that in my younger days when I thought about women, I thought about what it might be like to spend time with them, to kiss them, to sleep with them. No one ever thinks about what it will be like to grow with them as their collarbones disappear under time like small buildings in a sand storm. But that’s what marriage is, for us at least.
I still spend a lot of time looking at Lynnette when she’s not looking. Last night, I eyed her as she plowed through her dinner. So much about her has changed. But then she delicately places a piece of steak in her mouth, closes her eyes, and moves her body in an almost imperceptible shiver. I knew that was going to happen. I like to think I know her better than anyone in the world. She opens her eyes and smiles while chewing so that her eyes almost disappear. Then – because she knows me – she forks a piece of filet mignon and waves it in my direction. I don’t know if there’s much more we can learn about each other. I think the rest of our journey is going to be about making discoveries in the world together, whether that means flying 2,500 miles to California or driving to a strip mall in Hawaii Kai.
Happy Anniversary, Lynnette. Perhaps you and I will be archeologists in this following year, our 8th. Let us discover those old artifacts: fossilized clavicles and mandibles.