Thursday, October 18, 2007

Non, je ne regrette rien

This past week, Tim worked seven days. I worked six.

It's not completely unusual for us to do this. In fact, it's rather standard for both of us to work like dogs. Tim always works six days a week, and my ten to twelve hour days add up to at least the same.

But this weekend, we barely got to see much of each other.

I rushed to his house after work on Friday, where we had a couple of late cocktails, hit the diner and crawled into bed. The next morning, we didn't even have a chance to have breakfast together. We both boarded the PATH train and headed off to our various responsibilities. I finished up in the late afternoon. Tim would be done at 8:30.

The plan was for me to pick him up, and then we'd have a quiet dinner. I met him just as he was coming out the door and we headed off directly into the madness that is Times Square these days. Our goal was a small French restaurant in the West Fifties that we tend to get to at least once a month. It dates from the early 1960's; a time when this neighborhood had several such establishments, due perhaps to the proximity of the passenger ship piers directly west. It is one of the very few survivors of that era, and it mostly attracts a clientele of a certain age, along with the occasional Hell's Kitchen claque of neighborhood gay boys and a smattering of theatre-goers. It is always packed pre-curtain, but the scene mellows out nicely as the evening progresses.

We took a table in the quiet back corner. The very lovely French women who work there know us now, and they bring us our Manhattans and a slice of pate, while we unwind a bit. Tim has learned this from my uncle, who wouldn't even open the menu until he was well into his second cocktail. We're not quite that severe. We order our meal along with our second cocktail, as the world becomes slightly bourbon-tinged and we're able, momentarily, to be together. I enjoy a perfectly sauteed trout, and Tim works his way through a hefty portion of Choucroute Garnie. The table is cleared, and now we're among the last few diners. Coffee and spirits are due to arrive. We lean back and regard each other. Tim reaches his hand across the table, and places it gently over mine.

We sit quietly, listening to the wonderfully endless Edith Piaf recordings, drinking our Delamain and Poire William, basking for this short moment in each other's company. Tomorrow, Tim will be back at work, and I'll have to make do with the occasional glance we share over the bar, from time to time.

But for now, we'll head off into the balmy autumn night, our shoulders brushing occasionally as we commence our journey home.


Blogger southbeachbum said...

There is nothing quite like pleasant companionship.

8:59 AM  
Blogger palochi said...

Oh man. How nice.

Speaking as someone who knows both your pain of working like a dog, I think I'd sell a kidney right now for just one nice evening out like this with someone I cared about. :-)

12:41 PM  
Blogger Ice John's World said...

What a nice evening you guys had there! Peace, quite, and enjoy the company of each other.

9:49 PM  
Blogger David said...

How lovely, even for a few short hours. Well, I can always dream.

12:51 PM  
Anonymous Stash said...

Wonderful writing, Mark, as always.

2:00 PM  

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