The two of us sat outside, under an arched portico, at a marble table that was meant to seat ten. Next to us, there was a table of 6 giggling girls. They had stolen the chairs from our table, before we arrived, leaving us with a single padded wicker bench, curved to match the outline of the table, which had enough berth to easily seat six. Yet, we sat close enough for our knees to touch, leaving the outside seats of the bench bare and desolate. He ordered the Sapporo we would share, and our sushi — tuna and salmon for him, tempura for me. “Please bring us extra wassabi,” and “extra ginger for me,” we neglected to say. We switched up the bench so that it faced the street, rather than the eclectic modern bar, so that we could people-watch.
Then the sky opened up and sparkling puddles formed on the sidewalk and the busy street, while the people ran for cover under awnings and jackets; others folded their bodies into the taxis that appeared out of nowhere. Rings of rainbows glistened under the streetlights, as we huddled closer together for warmth, despite the propane heaters that stood guard behind the marble arches. Water danced on the cement ledge in front of our table, splashing water all over our table, and the cars swooshed the water from the street across the sidewalks. We scooted our table back further underneath the portico. The drivers of the cars impatiently blew their horns at the slower drivers, while their windshield wipers tried to keep up with the downpour.
The sushi took forever to come, which was how we discovered the strange unisex bathroom in the back, by the bar. I watched him sip his Saporro, and my eyes lingered a bit over his jaw, and his shoulders, defined from that time he spends in the gym sometimes after work. When the sushi finally did arrive, it felt like the smoothest rolls we’d ever felt against our tongues. After dinner, I ran to the that unisex bathroom one more time, and along the way, reached out to the valet, who was drenched, despite the tent, to hand him our ticket. I got soaked just from reaching out to him. When it was time for us to leave, the sky parted wider, and the rain beat down on our heads, harder yet, while we tucked ourselves into our car for the short drive home.
We were grateful for the show the rain gave us, and grateful that our food was late. We were grateful for the table of giggling girls who stole our chairs, and for the people who inadvertently provided our entertainment. We are grateful for the 17 years of marriage that has left us serendipitously contented, at ease, and happy, despite the rain, the rainbows, sunshine and more rain.
I am grateful for the simple miracle of frozen time – how can my heart still flutter the same way it did 23 years ago when he asked me for a kiss on New Years Eve? How decades can feel like yesterday…