Thursday, March 17, 2011

letter three


Dear Bartender,

On Monday, you returned from Mattapoisett. So much marked off on your List. Most regarding the boat. Her launch is a week away and your joy rests just below the few lines left to check off. Days away from the waves. Your only stress release.

I made sure to be home soon after work let out. I wanted to serve a meal for your return. To bake a full blown lasagna, thick with ground turkey and chuck, and seasoned ricotta cheese. Our baking dishes are slight. Sauce and cheese bubbled all too near the edges. There was much meat leftover. Just as I was storing it in a dish, I recalled a bag of frozen sweet corn kernels, an opened box of beef broth and a couple handfuls of cooked wheat spaghetti leftover from the scrumptious chicken parm you tossed together late last week. Soon a pot was warming these tidbits together as well as onion slivers and a heavy handed seasoning sprinkled from the secret spice blend.

You called, delayed in traffic. I assured you not to worry. Your timing would be perfect. And, it was. You walked through the door just as the lasagna began to rest. Calm its puffiness. We noshed on half-bowls of the mishmash soup after I shooed you away from a too hot tasting direct from the pot.

I perched on the granite counter top with bowl in hand, turned toward you on the other side of the bar top, freshly showered, balancing your checkbook. Soon we were discussing the business plan we needed to flesh out. We started to plan the vibe of the bar. What did we want exactly? That moment was when it first felt REAL.

That was also the moment I scribbled down the soup's recipe, wanting to seal it in mind forever. The soup that came together on a whim. The soup that we nibbled at pensively while discussing this phantom business. A business that could take over our lives. As I had spent a late night filling out the business plan outline, I felt confident that we could write the first draft quickly. Assured you of the same.

We settled into the Monday night norm. Eating by the television. Watching Seinfeld's 10 year part 2 recap. All seemed usual. Until, the notion of the plan nagged at the back of my mind as I began to feel too comfortable settling into the couch's deep leather cushions after a couple gooey squares of lasagna devoured.

We need to write this thing. A matter of fact you shared while lounging. Asked if I'd get it started then you'd be over.

I'm not sure if you're aware. Aware that writing the plan---contemplating the phrasing, typing quickly to capture our thoughts in unison---all of it, delighted me. I'm beginning to see the role I'll play in this act. Up until this point, I wasn't sure. I've been a bystander for so long. The girlfriend. The life outside the bar. Now, I'm supposed to play a supporting role. It's new.

Somehow, I CAN do this thing. Write this plan. You knew before I did. You banked on that. Sure, we nipped at each other a couple of times. I was tired from daily computer overload. My eyes losing focus after a certain hour. Well, I have the next 40 years to work on this, you remark. Knowing stress is the factor at play, I grab your face and kiss you. Rub your beard. Bring us back from the depths. Console us both. Somehow.

Type, talk, pause. Type.

A few hours later, after many turns of phrase, financial calculations, quick attempts to summarize the atmosphere, food, competition in just sentences not extensive paragraphs, we're spent. The first draft is complete. We both head to sleep shortly thereafter.

Today, you are traveling south to meet with an adviser from the small business association. I know you dread the drive. That's many miles to travel in a day, before your shift, and after working until 2:30 AM. It's much to take on. I try to soothe your annoyance/concern/burnout by stating that it's one step closer to what you're striving for. Soon, you'll have a business and that space will fill your days. Worth it?

This morning, I made sure to leave a sticky note on the mirror, wishing you luck. I poured cold water into a thermos and sat a Kashi bar next to it, knowing too well that nourishment would be furthest from your mind during a hasty day. You're meeting with the adviser to discuss the business plan we wrote (in a single night!). Pat on the ole back.

What will today's meeting bring? And, is there comfort found in the trinkets I leave behind. I want to be on the road with you. Be by your side as the strategy continues. I think you'd feel better for it. But, I have my own workday to contend with and I can't escape it. The only way I know how to show you that I am thinking about it all too, is by these minute actions. Do they help?

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