I spent yesterday haunting the places we used to love; feeling his spirit, sensing his smile, knowing his warmth, and missing him more than ever.
At first, when I went into The Silver Peak, I felt a vague sense of familiarity; we had been there so many times before. We would sit on the patio and laugh across the table over plates of hummus, pita bread, olive tapenade (although, truth be told, he hated the olive tapenade), and endless glasses of white wine. We hosted co-workers through crises, drunken spiels about their love lives, and the odd quirkiness of their personalities. The Silver Peak was our place.
However, last night was entirely different; it was cold and crisp. The tables that usually graced the sidewalk were packed away and completely out of sight; I sat at the bar alone and ordered the chicken tacos, not the Greek Sampler. I ordered a Malibu Press, my current signature drink, instead of “our” bottle of white. The crowd was entirely different, too; it was younger, hipper, or was I just feeling so damn old that I they appeared young.
I passed the time talking to the bartender and two young men at the end of the bar; they confirmed the crowd was altered. Years before, the establishment was filled with lawyers and professionals from the downtown office buildings; now, artists, beatniks, and tourists filled the restaurant and crowded the bar. Nevertheless, it did not matter, it was not my place anymore, I was infringing on a memory, and I was a ghost.
My quest to torture myself did not end with one slice across my flesh; I walked up the street and meandered through the smiling vacationers, sinking into my memories. I paused in front of Rum Bullions, picturing him sitting with my daughter on her 21st birthday, smiling, laughing, and socializing. The overhead music was Nickelback, some sentimental song that always makes me think of him; I stood frozen in front of the giant mining structure in the middle of The Silver Legacy. Would the pain ever end?
Apparently, not anytime soon; I walked into the last place I should have been, Bistro Roxy. I sat at the bar and ordered one of the 102 martinis they have on the menu; it was all I could do to choke back my tears as I sat swirling the sweet liqueurs mixing in my glass as I listened to the piano thinking of him. The crowd was fun and lively, but it was too old, it was not our crowd. The drink was the same, too sweet, too sticky, too expensive; he would have known which one to order for me… he always got it just right. But the rest of it was all wrong; the people were too old, the bartender was too dull, my mood was too dark, and he was not there.
I should not have gone there, to our places; but returning to a town where we fell in love, there is not one place without his fingerprints, his smile, his smell, him.
The cutting continues today as I listen to Pandora… Michael Buble, Nickelback, James Blunt, even Trans-Siberian Orchestra (in February?) all so diverse, but each one of them is us, is him.