Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Power of One

One teardrop glistening down the windowpane.

One butterfly perched on the back of a garden chair, the day after David died.

One bloom on my mother's hibiscus plant. I was presented with this lipstick pink bloom on Mom's birthday a number of years ago. It hadn't bloomed in the two years previous and hasn't bloomed since.

One chickadee at my feeder. As you know I haven't had any birds at my feeders this winter.

The other night I had gone to bed obsessing about wanting, needing to dream of David.  I had read that if you focus on a person before going to sleep, you will dream about him/her. Makes sense, however I was so obsessed with forcing my thoughts back into our memory bank, that I prevented myself from falling asleep, my mind going round and round in circles. And the dream never came, of course. So, I made up my mind in the morning,as I took my cup of coffee over to the window, to just let things happen naturally, in the time they are meant to. With that thought in mind, the chickadee appeared! That was February 4th and I haven't seen any since.

One person living in
One house
One person driving
One car
One place setting at the kitchen table
Cooking for One

One can mean aching Loneliness; a river of tears washing down grief-stricken cheeks. Sad, alone, empty,  unbearably quiet, echoing rooms.

Yet One can mean Solitude, getting-to-know-oneself in the depth of that stillness, a time of reflection, of learning to stand alone, of  listening to the gentle inner voice of....One being.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Dinner To Remember

Valentine's Day will soon be here. Memory takes me back to another Valentine's Day about a year or so after David and I were married.

Always the romantic, David decided to take me to an elegant restaurant for the occasion. So we dressed up, hopped in the car and drove up the mountain to Auberge des Gallant, a well known, but rather secluded Inn at the top of Rigaud mountain (which is not really a mountain, but a hill).

I was impressed by the massive stone fireplace in the lobby. Our table was not quite ready, so we decided to make ourselves comfortable in front of the roaring fire. A waiter brought us each a glass of rich-looking red wine to sip.

It wasn't long before a hostess appeared to take us to our table. We had requested a table by the window, since at this time of year the deer come out of the woods to feed. They come right up to the windows as food is put out especially for them, adding a uniqueness and charm to this restaurant.

Our waiter was very French, of course.
He set out tasty tidbits, a basket of bread, and water in crystal glasses.
Resisting an urge to pick up a tasty tidbit with my fingers, I politely stuck my fork and knife into what looked like a toast triangle.

That was the wrong thing to do! It was hard as toast usually is, and flew over David's shoulder to land on the floor! Thank goodness nobody was looking.

Surprised by the flying toast tidbit, David knocked over his wine glass. Fortunately it was almost empty, so he quickly put it right again.

By this time I thought I'd better be safe than sorry, so I chose an innocent-looking roll from the bread basket. It was crusty on the outside, but nice and soft and buttery on the inside.  I'd just finished eating it when Monsieur Waiter appeared at our table with a whisk.
"Vous permittez, Madam?"
 I was taken aback. Permit you do to what? I hesitated and then nodded my head, wondering if he was really going to sweep up the breadcrumbs I had carelessly spilled on the white linen table cloth.
He did.
David choked on his water.

Monsieur Waiter then asked for our orders.
"I'll have the duck," I decided, wanting to try something different.
"How would you like it cooked?" asked M.Waiter.
Again I hesitated. I didn't know there were different methods of cooking duck. Doesn't one just roast it?
"Sanguine?" asked Waiter.
I nodded again.
David gave me a funny look but then went on to give his order.

Le canard (the duck) was presented to me on a bed of rice surrounded by tender-crisp vegetables. It was rare. Eewwww. I could not eat it.
"Didn't you realize that when you ordered?" David asked me. "Send it back."
"No, no, it's o.k." I'd lost my appetite for it anyway. Just ate the vegetables and rice, which were very tasty.

A young couple sat down at the table behind me. I could hear M. Waiter asking what they'd like to eat. It was obvious they spoke no French, so the waiter had to speak English.
"Perhaps a salade, Madam?" he asked the lady. "A lettoose salade?"

David and I looked at each other, then quickly looked away, in case we burst out laughing.
Lettoooose? Lettoooose? What else would a salad be made of than lettuce?
O.K., it could have been cabbage, but that would be cole slaw. Or potato salad, or greek salad. But really it was the poor man's pronunciation that had us chuckling in our napkins. 

Coffee arrived in delicate china cups. I picked up the silver cream pitcher and poured some into my coffee. It didn't look like cream; it looked like milk. A small sip confirmed my suspicion.
I asked M.Waiter for cream. He looked horrified.
"Non, Madam, we do not have cream."

Well, excuse me. I thought. Isn't this a French restaurant?  Don't they put cream in all of  their sauces?  Well never mind. We stopped at Tim Horton's on the way home and picked up coffee to go - double double for David and just cream for me.

We had had a delightful evening and laughed about it for years.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Do Spirits Cry?

I sat at my kitchen table one sunny morning a day or so ago, looking out the window into the snowy backyard. That window was new; a lovely and spacious bay window David and I had installed the winter before he died.
Looking through it is always bittersweet. Sweet memories,  dreams now of our life the way it was, mixed with the bitter reality of loss. 

The hedges surrounding our deck  were laden with snow. There were no birds. A few icicles hung from the roof, but not many.

I have tulip bulbs sprouting in a glass dish on the window sill. The cat was curled up on a kitchen chair, napping in the warm February sunshine. It was unseasonably mild for this time of year and some of the snow was beginning to melt. I turned my face to the morning sun and began a conversation with David as I usually do.

Movement drew my eye to the window pane.

It was a lone drop of water, glistening in the sunlight. 
It sat there for a second or two, then slowly trickled down the glass, like a tear drop running down somebody's cheek.