Oh, poor Matt. He is at once the most talkative person I’ve ever met (at least he’s that way with me—my ears, they are ringing with his words) and yet he is also a very private person. Somehow he found himself dating me, who likes to write about her life, and her love life (GAH!), and share it on the internet. Today I am going to do him a favor and I will say
no more nothing too specific about the difficult waters in which we find ourselves swimming. Actually, there isn’t anything too specific to say other than that things are not okay for him, and he doesn’t know why. I don’t know why either. As far as I can tell, there isn’t anything wrong with our relationship—nothing specific I can say or do differently. And it breaks my heart, his sadness and this helpless feeling. I feel lonely without him and the comfort of our routines.
He visited me last weekend, and it was bittersweet. It was bitter feeling helpless and uncertain about the future, and it was bitter not knowing how to comfort him. And yet it was still sweet to see him. Even the worst moments had some sweetness, whether it was a bare-faced honesty, a stripping away of certain illusions (he makes everything look so easy—it turns out it’s not), or even a few good-bye hugs after a conversation that dangled on the edge of becoming a fight, as I grew more panicky and his irritation became palpable. There were also some nice walks and a really lovely dinner at a restaurant with a very nosy server. Our server’s endless curiosity about us made me laugh: “Are y’all celebrating something special? How did you meet? Is that Dr. and Mrs.…” to which I replied, “Doctor and Doctor!” I didn’t earn a PhD to be called Mrs., I can tell you that much. (Never mind the fact that I’m not married, either.) I’m making fun of our server now, but really, he was kind of charming, if slightly intrusive. And he was certainly eager to please.
What I really want to tell you about today is the cheese. Oh, the cheese! It was so delicious. If you ever wonder why my tastes are becoming more and more decadent, you can be certain that it’s all Matt’s fault.
On Saturday night, we stayed in and made dinner. Our dinners have always been one of our best collaborations. We discussed dinner plans during our morning walk, with me tossing out ideas and Matt vetoing the ones that didn’t interest him. We knew we’d be drinking Cabernet Franc that evening, so we needed food that would go well with a bold wine selection. Luckily, we were walking slowly so there was plenty of time to settle on what seemed like a promising menu: a green salad (Matt makes the best salads) and roasted acorn squash stuffed with a mixture of soyrizo, onion, celery, and kale. All to be washed down with plenty of red wine, of course.
Matt has a passion for all things complex and savory, and he’s a thoughtful shopper, too. So when he wandered off to pick out some cheese to go in the salad, I felt a ripple of curious delight, knowing that whatever he chose, it would be a treat. To go with the pear in our salad, he picked out a big wedge of Parmesan SarVecchio. It had the wonderful savory depth of a good Parmesan, but with a more buttery texture. In my memory now, it seems like it wasn’t quite as salty as a typical Parmesan, like it wasn’t relying as heavily on salt to produce its flavor. Its savory quality was more subtle, more interesting and nuanced. It was really good, and I’ve been using it all week in my green salads, just a few shavings on top of some greens and orange slices dressed with good olive oil and vinegar.
Matt and I have had a lot of time now to wear grooves into our relationship, those familiar feelings of trust and contentment. It’s unsettling right now, not knowing what to do other than to wait for him to figure things out. So that’s what I am doing: I am waiting. Also, I fully intend to codify a recipe for our stuffed acorn squash because it was really, really good, and I want to remember as many good things about him and us as I can right now.
Thanks for reading, and I apologize for my vagueness. It’s not my intention to be coy, but I have to say something without saying everything. I hope you understand.