Had a grilled cheese and bacon sandwich for dinner the other night and as I was waiting for things to toast and melt I had a moment to let the thoughts wander in a multitude of directions as they often do.
Would the sandwich be better with a better quality cheese? Fuck yeah, but the 5 lbs of American “cheese” that I picked up at Costco is what I can afford at the moment and I’m grateful to have it.
But just because the ingredients aren’t top-notch doesn’t mean that it can’t taste good. This is where the technique/skill aspect comes in. Not that there’s much skill necessary to make a grilled cheese sandwich, but you want the cheese melted and the bread toasted, not burnt, so that does take some attention to detail.
So, get the pan to a good temperature. Melt some butter and a bit of bacon grease (I keep it, filtered after cooking up a batch, in a jar in the fridge) and toast what will be the inside of the bread for a moment. Then add another blop of the fats and flip over so that the outside of the bread is getting toasted. Put on an ample, even amount of cheese and then cook it low and slow till the cheese melts. You might even be able to turn off the pan if it’s hot and heavy enough. Warm the meat if you’re having any, before adding it to the sandwich right before you assemble it. Let it rest in the pan for a minute so it can all melt together and then cut and plate.
While I’m cooking this gourmet meal I remembered one that He and I had on the way to Vermont. We stopped at this lovely, if rather expensive place, because we were both starving, it was getting late and we were only moving deeper into the middle of nothing. It was parents weekend at a local boys boarding school and there were cars in the parking lot worth more than my house with people dressed to the nines, dropping more on one meal than I spend in a month.
Sooo not my world but I can code switch with the best of them and the place smelled great. We sat at the bar because that got us menus quicker. We shared dates stuffed with blue cheese wrapped in bacon (which is why my sandwich brought up the memory) and we both had small pasta dishes. Mine was a mixture of sauteed mushrooms with a light cream sauce tossed with fresh made noodles. Exquisite. Eat there if you ever get the chance.
So I go from remembering this wonderful meal on the beginning of a weekend away full of promises and potential delights to dinner in the cold and the dark, all alone and it bothers the Hell out of me but it doesn’t.
I’m finding that I like being alone for long stretches of time. No one who knows me is probably surprised by that. I think what I am surprised by is just how much I enjoy it. Deciding what, or not, to have for dinner. Three nights a week when I’m kid free (she’s with her father) I can do whatever I want. Generally what I end up doing isn’t all that exciting, working ten-hour days and sometimes eating cereal for dinner. But the potential is there and sometimes that’s enough. Or I can go out to a two-hour movie that starts at 8:50 p.m. like I did the other week and there’s no one to double-check or make arrangements with.
Standing at the stove in my pj’s, shifting back and forth through time and space, smelling the bacon from my shifty sandwich, remembering the amazing meal at Blue Heron and how I do so love to share good food with those I love.
I go from that to
It’s like he’s dead. But he’s not.
He’s just not here anymore.
This is really something that I never even imagined.
I was daft enough to think that he was the person to stay by my side through thick and thin, for better or for worse, till death do us part.
It seems he wasn’t the man I thought he was.
Whoever he was when he was with me, he’s now a person I text occasionally about picking up the last of his stuff or to check and see if he’s waiting for the mail that shows up at the house. Sometimes I have a tech questions and he’s kind enough to answer.
He never texts me first.
That’s very telling. Just not quite sure what it’s saying. Knowing him as I do, it could mean many things, all at once and each entirely opposite in deeper meaning.
Were he once was there is a very large void and it only gets larger as he moves further out of orbit and off into the darkness.
I’m still learning how to fill that void, maybe even make it a bit smaller and more manageable. Nature abhors a vacuum so I’ll obviously figure it out, eventually.
This is where the creative work comes in. So much more time now for futzing around with stuff that serves no immediate purpose other than the joy it brings through creating.
That time is a gift and one I refuse to waste.
But I miss him, even after everything that’s happened.
He’s been a part of my life in one way or another for the last 30 years and now there’s just