Sunday, August 16, 2009

Maybe we should've gone to Curley's.....

Twelve gallons is a lot of blood. That's how much Mark (the boyfriend formerly known as Big Hands) donated over the last few years to receive a gift certificate for dinner at his choice of several local restaurants. He chose Moonstone Grill and invited me to go with him. Actually, I chose Moonstone Grill and invited myself if you want to get technical, but that's not important.

We arrived in the parking lot yesterday evening just in time to see a young woman dressed in white walking into the restaurant. I tried to replace the good luck with that that was forming inside my jaded mind with beautiful day for a wedding. It was so gorgeous on Moonstone Beach that I almost succeeded.

Inside we enjoyed the view as we began our meal with oysters and smoked albacore wontons. At the table directly across from us, a couple in their fifties was sitting with a couple in their seventies. As the older woman raised a glass of water to her lips, her hand shook badly, and a small stream spilled down her sleeve.

Imagining the blood bank issuing a Hometown Buffet gift certificate next time for ordering too lavishly, I went with the bigeye tuna instead of the abalone I really wanted. Mark had the filet mignon. We passed the time waiting for our food by checking everyone else's out.

The meal arrived at the table across from us. The older woman had ordered my second choice, the pasta with asparagus and mushrooms. The dish was served with, not a fork, but a gigantic spoon, and as soon as she started trying to eat with it, she began to have trouble. The spoon was too big for her mouth as well as her hand which was shaking so badly she couldn't hold the spoon steady. She couldn't get the slippery food to stay on it, and it kept sliding off onto the tablecloth. Soon there was a pile of mushrooms and noodles on the table beside her plate. She then began using the fingers of her left hand to try to pick up the food on the table and put it back on the spoon, which more often than not resulted in it falling right back off.

My throat ached as I sat there conflicted, trying not to stare. Should I walk over quietly and help cut her dinner? Should I slip her a fork? Should I say something to the waitress? In the end, I couldn't decide whether taking action would help or embarrass her further. I cowardly remained silent and cheered inside every time she succeeded in getting a tiny bit of mushroom or a small piece of noodle into her mouth.

The others at her table were either completely oblivious, wrapped up in their own food and conversation, or were avoiding the fact that perhaps their own frightening future was sitting before them, until suddenly the older woman's husband glanced over and saw the food that had accumulated on the tablecloth. He pulled her plate away from her and scowled. "Just look at the mess you've made." He pushed her plate back while shaking his head in disgust.

The younger woman looked up. "Maybe we should get her a fork." But nobody did. Eventually the older woman just stopped eating, although I was happy to note that even though she had to hold the glass with two hands, she continued to drink wine. She certainly needed alcohol with such assholes for dinner companions.

After a finish of cheesecake and creme brulee, we went for a much needed walk. Moonstone Beach was alive with energy. Laughter tumbled from one end of the beach to the other, and the sweet smell of pot smoke wafted from the bushes. As the sun started to set, we saw a large group of people, most of whom held cameras.

A stunning dark skinned woman in a silk wedding gown stood with her husband on top of a small sand dune. A bagpipe player stood a few feet away. Around them danced several women and one small girl wearing dresses of magenta. The vibrant hue against the dull gray of the sand made for a shocking, albeit quite lovely, contrast.

The newly wedded couple put their arms around each other. They smiled as the cameras erupted in loud manic clicks. And then they kissed. Surrounded by hot pink hope.

What will happen to them? I wondered.

Will their marriage be like mine, which would have been two years old this very weekend, but instead failed miserably nearly out of the gate?

Or will they stay together long after their laughter has disappeared, and his kindness is replaced by disgust because her hands have become weak and her dinner has turned wayward?

Or will they, sixty years from now, find themselves standing on a small sand dune on Moonstone Beach one evening while the sky turns pink above them? "I remember how beautiful you looked 60 years ago," he'll say. She'll look at him and grab his hand. "And I remember how awful those bagpipes your mother insisted on sounded, " she'll say. And then they'll laugh until the sky turns dark.

As if he could read my mind, Mark leaned over from behind me and pressed his warm cheek to mine. "Maybe they'll make it," he whispered. I leaned back against him and closed my eyes.

Indeed. Maybe they will.

Wondrous and amazing photo of Moonstone Beach at sunset is by Rambling Jack.


blossoms said...

What a sweet, sweet blog! I know you will take care of me when I get old, cranky, stinky and want to eat pasta with a spoon!

Your life now is good..thanks to you know who. That is all that really counts.

Anonymous said...

Hey K-Rae-A-P - you almost made me cry, I mean really, I had tears welling up. When do I get to meet your man anyway? SDL ;)

Unknown said...

That photo looks familiar!

Kristabel said...

Damn straight, Mama Xanax. But don't you already eat pasta with a spoon?

Thanks, S. Whenever you want.

Jack! Did I steal that picture from you without even knowing it? Good for me. It's gorgeous.

Unknown said...

I'm honored!

"Bob" said...

Italians eat pasta with a fork and a spoon

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful and sad story. So happy for your sad for the woman who should be loved and honored.

crossgirl said...

Beautiful. *sniff*

Carol said...

I think she should have dumped the plate of spagetti on his head! At least that is how I feel when I read about the jerk criticizing that dear lady trying to eat her spagetti. Fork, someone?

Dave said...

Beautifully told. Having lunched yesterday with my 95 year old Grandma, all the more poignant. Thanks.

Plain Jane said...

I'm glad you choose Moonstone over Curley's for this lovely essay which resulted. You write so beautifully. I too got a little teary about the older "invisible woman" and the newlyweds. The alpha and the omega of married bliss. Bittersweet.

Kristabel said...

I hadn't thought of that one, Carol. That would've been perfect!

Dave...thanks. It's hard to explain how seeing that woman affected me. It seems like such a small event, but I truly felt like it was one of the saddest things I've ever witnessed. Poor Mark - I cried all the way home to Loleta. I'm glad you're able to spend so much time with your grandma. It sounds like you cherish her. xoxox

Plain Jane...thank you for your kind words. The alpha and omega....I love this.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this beautiful post. I am new to your blog and I'm glad I found you. It is nice to know you are out there.

Joel Mielke said...

That was a touching post. Thank you.

Kristabel said...

It's nice to know you're out there too, anonymous.

Thanks CPR. What? No grammar schooling? You know how much I love it.

Anonymous said...

That was a beautiful essay.

I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes and thinking "Wow"

I just went to my parent's 50th and watched as my dad patted my mom's butt and my mom got my dad a napkin and I looked at my guy and knew I wanted to be there with him--wheelchair, walker or whatever.

You just brought back that emotion so strong. Here's a wish you find that person that you want to hand be there with when you get old. Here's hoping they're lucky enough to find someone like you.

Anonymous said...

I love the way you write, Kristabel, but do you have to use so much profanity?

Kristabel said...

So sweet, Kym. Your comment brought a little tear to my eye. Thank you.

And anonymous 10:35...yes. Yes I do.

Anonymous said...

Ohhhh Kristabel, I'm at a loss for words & if we'd ever met you'd know how truly odd that is.

Unknown said...

Wow, that was lovely. I'm so glad you posted to my blog so that I could find my way back to yours. That was beautifully written and I'm still a bit... at a loss for words, I guess. It was wonderful.

Though now I have to admit I'm a little scared. The titles of your other posts looked very interesting and I'm afraid I'm getting sucked in... Happy reading to me :-)

Anonymous said...

This is the kind of story that people should read aloud to their lovers. You should have a wider audience.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Carol, but the spagetti should have been hot, and the meatball even hotter...the butthead!

Wild Thing said...

I agree with Carol! I hate to see
women treated like this at any age!
It makes it sooo hard to keep one's
mouth shut! Loved the story, almost
as much as the one about your aunt.

Blissful said...

Have been enjoying your blog and meaning to comment for some time now. I agree with the above posters that your blog is totally addictive! You possess a rare writing talent: an ability to put words together in a pleasing and entertaining order, and to use words to masterfully describe and elicit emotions. You are both funny and achingly touching, and as someone who also has first cousins I consider friends, I eagerly look forward to your next posts.

newbaku said...

Lovely and thought-provoking post. By the way, the lady not having a fork was an oversight by the wait staff. The large spoon is supposed to be used in tandem with a fork. One twirls pasta onto a fork neatly, using the bowl of the spoon to assist.

And her husband should be publically flogged. What an asshat.

Joel Mielke said...

In Italy spoons are only for children, but I'm sure that Italians would endorse any helpful implement for a shaky, elderly person.

Unlike Anonymous, I hadn't noticed the profanities. There's a time and place for everything, so I suppose that this was the time and the place.

McKinleyville Kris said...

You should've gone to Curley's because it will soon be shut down, unfortunately.

Beautiful post, almost too sad for me and also, how does one not interfere when seeing such things go down? I have a difficult time keeping my trap shut.

Jennifer McKenzie said...

What a beautiful post.
I think the biggest fear I have is to die alone and uncared for.
That poor woman.
And your man is a sweetie.

J.K. Coi said...

This is a lovely post!
I have the same hopes for my marriage-and I know all I can do is try my best-it's when we stop trying, when we can't do the little things for each other (like help our loved one when they're struggling, or show a little patience) that things break down

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful post. I want to go hug that poor woman in the restaurant.

You've described my views on marriage perfectly: a heavy dose of skepticism mixed with almost a wild hope.

suicide_blond said...

"hot pink hope" ....awesome

Kristabel said...

Look at all of Jen's peeps who made their way over here. Hooray!

I really appreciate everyone's comments. Not just for the compliments, which of course are always nice to receive, but because...this evening touched me deeply. I cried all the way home and then proceeded to write crazily for about an hour in an old notebook. The next day I took out what I thought was unnecessary (even a few more swear words, anonymous!) and posted it, thinking that it seemed trite and not as full of the emotion that I felt and still couldn't get rid of.

You all have no idea how much it warms my heart that you get it and were willing to talk about it.

Sharing our humanness...that's my favorite part of blogging. I'm so fortunate to have met so many wonderful people this way.

Bilvis said...

Thank you for sharing your humanness...
A very recent Jen peep.