And I wanna stand out in a crowd for you
A man among men
I wanna make your world better than it’s ever been

~ Keith Urban “Making Memories of Us”

I was in a cab today going south on Park Avenue and there, between 50th and 42nd street were these stretches of blocks where Michael and I once walked looking for a restaurant where, the year before, I had the best salad ever.

When we first came upon this restaurant, it was completely accidental. We were walking along, somewhere around Park between 50th and 42nd and we saw this sign for this restaurant that was downstairs in a building.

It was not that visible from the street and it looked like it was probably a “week-day” business place more than a weekend and we were mosying around on a Saturday. It was probably one of our anniversary weekend as we almost always spent our anniversaries in Manhattan, where we got married.

We went down the stairs and the place was expensive black leather booths and dark wood and chrome. A meshing of a few styles that worked really well with the lighting (soft) that they had. It was a very nice place. It was just about mid-day but there were not a lot of people and the mood was subdued.

Michael ordered some giant thing and I ordered an Asian chicken salad. As I sat there eating it, it impressed me more and more. The dressing was homemade and wonderful…it seemed better with every bite. I wasn’t that hungry when we arrived, but I gobbled it up.

We talked and had a good time, as usual and then left and went on our way (wherever that was). I had complimented the salad a few times but our conversation was mostly about other things…or a lot of silly nothing. Which we both liked. 🙂

For the next few months I raved about the salad and Michael said let’s go back, let’s go back. We kept putting it off until it was almost a year later. So we took off for the restaurant…only we couldn’t remember where it was.

Since he was the non-New Yorker, Michael just followed me up and down blocks, across and over. We went round and round. We split the blocks, we came back together. We couldn’t find it.

But what I thought about today was that he never got cranky or impatient or thinking this hunt for salad totally ridiculous. Never asked me why I couldn’t find it….never questioned my memory as to where it was….In fact, when I got frustrated, he humored me.

….

Tonight I was on a bus with no heat and the bus driver got fed up and suddenly pulled over on 6th Avenue and called for a replacement bus.

We sat there huddled in the cold until the new bus came and then shuffled off the bus like a band of refugees, grabbing our belongings. Most people were grumbling and some complaining loudly. It was late, we were cold and if I was closer to my destination (or if it was warmer), I would have walked instead of playing musical buses.

And as I had this thought I chuckled a bit. Michael isn’t here to ground me and when these crazy crazy times happen, I have to ground myself. When he was here I could go off like a bottle rocket and know he was there to say, “It’s okay dear-o.” Now I have to say that to myself.

And I think that in integrating that into my being, because it’s not here anymore, I’ve learned to become more balanced and calm in the face of frustrating events (not always but a lot more than I used to be). Or maybe after losing the love of your life, not many other things are going to ruffle you so.

I’m not sure.

But today when I thought about that wacky adventure to try to find this salad place for what seemed like hours (I’m sure it was a pretty long time), I realized not only how calm and patient (and loving) he was but how calm I’ve become in the past few months.

And for whatever it is, once again, I’m grateful.

For him. For us. And for what remains.

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