Tonight was dinner out with a couple of close friends. It’s something that I have done a few times now. It should be such a normal, undemanding, satisfying thing to do, but in reality for me, it’s hard. When my husband, Kevin, was alive I seldom went out for dinner without him. It would be like a betrayal to go out for a meal and not have him with me. Eating out really and truly was his thing. He would joke (but he was actually quite serious) that he hadn’t taken a lunch to work with him for 15 years. Truly, every day he and his buddies at the school where he taught would go out for lunch. Every day. If that wasn’t enough, he’d sometimes call me before he left at the end of the school day and arrange to meet me for a coffee at a little café we have in town. Sitting there having our coffee we’d figure out what to do about dinner a couple of hours later.
On the weekend Kevin would usually try to have something planned for Saturday night, at our house or someone else’s. He had a unique skill as a dinner party planner; he’d invite everyone, assign preparation of courses (appetizers, mains, desserts) and then figure out where the dinner would be. Sometimes there would be a bit of notice, but not always. He loved the food and he loved socializing. He loved our circle of friends. Then Sundays were breakfast out, usually at the same restaurant, where invariably we’d meet people we knew.
I had been caught up in Kevin’s current and swirled along with him for so long that his death has meant a tremendous adjustment. That lifestyle is now gone. Not in the sense that I can’t do those things, but in the obvious way that they will never be the same. Tonight, sitting there in the restaurant with my friends was so safe but at the same time it pulled at my heart. Kevin would have had no problem crashing a dinner out with the girls; he had no problem crashing anyone’s party. I could imagine him there with me tonight, trying to wheedle all the gossip out of my friends, laughing and telling stories. I suspect that the conversation tonight at the dinner table wouldn’t have satisfied him, it just wasn’t juicy enough; although for a few minutes I think we did him proud.
It’s the simple honest moments that trip me up the most. I know it, and there is nothing I can do about it.