Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Tiramisu and the Table
at 4:29 AM
Trevor and I have rather conflicting schedules. The days I'm working, he has off, and vice versa. We sometimes get to squeeze in a quick dinner together, but it's often hurried and slightly panicked, gulping and chewing in silence until one of us has to dash off. Sometimes we barely say a word.
Two weeks ago we were especailly busy. Meetings, work, more meetings. But as we were discussing our schedules that Wednesday morning, sipping our black coffee on the couch, we suddenly realized that we would both have the entire night free. Together.
That night I went through the rythmic motions of fixing dinner as I always do - carefully calculating how to do the least work possible to prepare a somewhat nutritious and healthy meal. It ended up being a rather random dinner of salad and mashed sweet potatoes. Healthy but odd, a running theme with all of our meals.
But as he was setting the table Trevor pulled out our wedding china, the plates with the tiny birds that we picked out on a whim. Wordlessly following his cue, I moved to the living room and turned on soft dinner music. We ate slowly, looking each other in the eye and letting scattered thoughts from the day form into real, animated conversation. With a table between us and not a place in the world to be, we talked and talked, long after the leftovers had grown cold and stubbornly stuck onto the plates. Topics that were normally skimmed at surface level were now being delved into, mulled over. Hours had passed but, as if hypnotized by whatever magic this table was creating, neither of us wanted to leave and move on to television or email checking or whatever the next thing was. We finally decided that he would drive to the little Italian restaurant down the road to pick up some tiramisu while I did the dishes and put on the coffee. We met back at the table in fifteen minutes and hit resume.
Our weird little salad dinner ended up lasting over three hours.
I'm always reading about the importance of the table and homemade meals and families eating together. Such a simple thing, one that I've always believed in wholeheartedly and looked forward to putting into practice when we have a big, bustling family of our own one day. But right now, kids or no, we are a family. Me and him. And even though we're young and still figuring it all out, the table is for us, too. Uninterrupted hours of laughing and passing the French Press coffee and dessert is just as important for our quiet family of two.
That one dinner was simple and unexpected, but it shifted something in me, ever so slightly. It changed the way I see that cheap Ikea table with the broken chair and made it something holy, almost. We've had countless lingering meals on that table with friends and siblings and parents, dinner time slipping into kairos time. Why shouldn't we try to make that happen every once in a while, just the two of us?
Our dinner tonight will be another rushed one, nothing romantic or cozy happening in the ten minutes between sitting down and saying goodbye. But now, at least, I know we don't have to wait for an expensive dinner out to have a relaxing, romantic meal together. To push pause and look in each other's eyes and say, "But how are you, really?" It can happen right in this apartment, if we slow down enough to let it.