I met an old friend for drinks with the intention of granting last rites to the St. Patrick’s holiday. Two and a half weeks late as it is. Still plenty cool ,since death never goes out of style with the Irish in general or St. Patrick in particular.
My friend and me have tended to this last train production for a few years running now. Our choice has but one requisite-The watering hole must run antithetical to the rolling green ‘o Henry of snake driven lore. The must of less musty variant is what I’m saying.
And so, the proper burial was dressed . . in haute.
There was a round table of young professionals, so enthralled by their respective mobile devices that we could have piggybacked their murderous check with scant detection. At the far corner sat a handsome young couple with hands woven in blissful promise and lips in serious negotiations on picket fence. The bar was anchored by a trio of middle aged fellows who segued through sloppy ministrations, plunging in to the catty stock market and then college ball and finally to a guy named Michaels whom they all agreed was a putz of a team leader.
My friend was intent on following my lead tonight. And so it was. Vodka martinis drawn up straight with bleu cheese stuffed olives swimming on a downstream buzz. The joint we chose makes an honest martini. Old school specs have suffered inside the proliferation of the Martini Bar, which is what happens when you apply a Baskin Robbins methodology to a standard classic.
Martini Tip: Over sized vessels filled to the brim are a must. Don’t go for those half pint misfits with the cute little carafe on the side. This is a discounted version of the real thing, an imposter whose gilded apparatus seeds a perception that you’re receiving more when the opposite is true.
“A toast” I said, raising my glass. “To marriage . . and its inherent ability to spread blame equally.”
“Says you.” Came her tart reply.
Marriage is looking good on her, and I said so.
“Thanks, yeah . . . I’m thinking the second time was the charm.”
“I’ll take your word for it.” I replied. Unions which require mental erasers, joint accounts and theological warranties don’t do a thing for me any longer. I’m inspired by married people the way I’m inspired by Rocky movies- briefly and with little regard for serious consideration beyond the credits.
But she’s an old friend, and I love seeing her this way; happy, truly so. To my way of thinking, old friends are life credits. If you’re blessed with even one, you’re gold star abundant.
We’ve navigated life and death, growing up and growing older, amazing moments and the darkest of days. Together, as friends.
In what seems like another lifetime ago and more now, we had a thing. It was a ski weekend in Vermont, and we were silly enough kids back then for such an extravagance. Mind you, there had been no prelude to such an idea leading up to the main event. But hell, once the drinks started paying off, natural conclusions made sense enough and more.
But for the silly thing of Monday happening, it might have been a happily ever after.
Once the sex is written into a relationship, well . . . the Holy Bible never got that one completely kitchened off, so I’m not about to bother myself with an apron on the topic. But yanno, it’s heady stuff. More complicated than David Lynch’s cerebrum at rush hour. Which is why I never trusted nor adhered to the idea of “Friends with Benefits”. Because, take it from a guy who knows better? The literal of naked friendly is a buy or sell thing, wholly speaking.
We talked for hours. Rummaging through the old times and laughing about the new. Unapologetic, irreverent and lovely. Tilling the fat soil the of in between with nary a twitch. Loving each other still and completely and always, in that platonic varietal that keeps the world ticking without need for a nuclear response.
Life is a crazy place, indeed.