Our kitchen looks like it was recently raided by a gang of hungry teenagers – all the fun, easy-to-make food is gone. We’re down to tins of chickpeas, tofu, carrots and potatoes. There’s enough for a last supper…one last desperate meal…
So, we decided to get burgers instead.
I change into the first non-pj outfit I’ve worn all week – confirm our favourite burger place is actually open (a lesson I’ve learned the hard way after years of disappointment and let down) and leave the warm cocoon of our lamp-lit home.
It’s a pitch-black night. Rain softening the glow from the streetlights.
I’ve happily been bunkered down at home. Coronavirus is holding us all hostage, and I’ve developed the worlds biggest case of Stockholm syndrome…that is, until the opportunity for a sneaky late-night burger pops up.
Until tonight, I’ve literally only travelled to six or seven places in the past 43 days. We drive though sections of our city that had already begun to fade in my memory. That surreal feeling you get when you’ve been away a long time and you’re rediscovering your home. The glow of restaurants open, empty, but still warm.
Everything about the streets felt exotic – this isn’t a place we felt entitled to be anymore – it feels like a privilege, a special treat…something we can keep if we all behave.
The rain tries to usher us quickly from the car into the restaurant but I’m dodging puddles…(why did we wear thongs?) and savouring how still the city feels.
I thought we’d be the only customers, but there’s a small, socially distanced, crowd…because ten people feels like a crowd now.
Usually the long wait would be annoying, but in these times, it’s refreshing. We’ve all become use to slow, use to waiting, use to having nowhere better to be. This completely mundane activity of waiting for food feels so familiar and normal I want to hug it – hug the waiting, hug the blandness of it all.
I know the next time I’m here, just for a moment, it will be as if Coronavirus never happened. The tables and chairs will be back, the music will be a little louder, we’ll gather with friends and swap stories between bites, just like we did a few months ago, sitting to my right, just over there, it was a hot summer night…
The blonde girl from behind the counter, who looks like she should be in a band, hands us our order in a white paper bag.
Technically we know we’re meant to get the food and return home, but it’s pouring with rain, and we have hot burgers and the beach is only around the corner…and in an instant so are we.
The fishing boats look lonely in the harbour, there’s a scattering of cars but no one is around.
It’s been awhile since I’ve seen the ocean.
It’s been awhile since we parked at the little lighthouse and watched the waves hit the break wall.
I’ve sat in so many cars, on so many nights, with so many people in that exact spot. I’ve listened to so many songs, had so many conversations, eaten there so many times…and this was possibly the sweetest of them all.
…this is the first time I’m not taking it for granted.
I’ve said that I’m not taking it for granted before – and I thought I wasn’t – but now I know I’m not.
I’ve lost this…and tonight we’ve stolen it back.
Holding our little treasure between us – laughing and reminiscing.
I bite into my burger and say, ‘this is every good decision I’ve ever made’ – and it is. It really is.
[Art via Pinterest]