I was listening. I swear I was listening. I just wasn’t 100% focused. That’s all.
I know that as a loving, attentive wife, I should have been staring deeply into my beloved husband’s eyes at all times and not even remotely distracted, especially considering we were celebrating our wedding anniversary. Yet despite my very best efforts to be the perfect wife, my poor husband had some stiff competition.
No! I wasn’t checking out the scenery. Well, not THAT kind of scenery and especially not on our wedding anniversary. That would have been particularly poor form and I do have some standards. I was trying hard to listen. Be attentive. I know how precious these moments are because it’s not often that the two of us get away without the kids. I get that! I didn’t need to be reminded.
Yet, as much as I was trying to focus and connect with my husband, I still couldn’t take my eyes off the sea which stretched out all around us like a marvellous palette. The waves were frolicking in the warm spring sunshine gently rolling in towards the beach. As I watched the waves, I could feel my heart rate actually starting to slow as I lapsed into some kind of semi-dream state. I have painted the ocean a bit lately in an abstract kind of way and I could almost dip my finger in the foam and smear it across the canvas. It was absolutely gorgeous and only a thin pane of glass away.
How could I not be distracted, even just a little by such serene, almost heavenly beauty?
But we were not there to eat the view. We were there for the food although the view was a huge contributing factor. You see, we wanted to Immerse ourselves in some kind of divine culinary symphony where the food was so good that your eyes almost pop out of your head. We wanted the whole Masterchef type experience with our view of the ocean and the sandy beach right at our feet and we got it.
This is why I was more than just a little distracted. The food was stimulating. The view was stimulating and we had a glass of sparkling wine each and you know what, my husband even told me a story I hadn’t heard before. You know after being married for 11 years how incredible that was! He was talking all about flying in a light aircraft in the Solomon Islands. I was pretty sure I’d heard all his old stories. I know he hasn’t heard all of my old stories but he’s heard all the stories he’s going to hear…at least from me!
Backtracking just a little, Geoff and I went out for lunch at a local restaurant to celebrate our 11th Wedding Anniversary. I’m pretty sure this is the first year that we haven’t gone away but in what looked like some kind of conspiracy, our weekend was even more cluttered than our house. I don’t know why the world didn’t stop for us. After all, isn’t anything sacred? Apparently not!
With no hope of getting away, we decided to have lunch at a favourite local restaurant. Although this restaurant is only down the road, we haven’t been there for over 5 years. It’s been completely redecorated and changed hands in that time. If we liked it so much, why haven’t we been back? Have we been half-asleep or somehow trapped in Sleeping Beauty waiting for some kind of jolt to wake us up? As I said, it’s only down the road and last year we managed to get all the way to Silks at Leura in the Blue Mountains for our anniversary dinner. That was over 2 hours drive and an overnight stay away.
Why is it that “we” (and here I’m referring to the collective “we” because I know it isn’t just us) overlook so many great local gems and yet somehow manage to explore foreign fields? We miss out on so much! A few weeks ago, I drove all the way to Morpeth and back, which was close to a 4 hour round trip but I haven’t been on the ferry to Palm Beach for probably almost 5 years and that’s only a just short drive away. What is wrong with me? I talk all about carpe diem and all of that but I don’t put it into practice. I don’t live it.
But things are changing. I recently made a decision to explore somewhere local once a week and I’m pretty much pulling it off. The school holidays are coming up and I’m determined to explore our local beaches with the kids instead of just being lured like a moth into the bright lights of Sydney. I am determined to do it and will commit it to paper. Write a plan before my best intentions disappear into the ether again. That somehow happens to me a lot.
Anyway, back to our meal.
This meal also had a special resonance for me. Tomorrow, I am going back to the Brown Hospital (as the kids call it) for a repeat endoscopy. That means I’ll be fasting from 6.00AM. So I am conscious that this meal is very much like the last supper and the taste is therefore almost surreal. As much as I would like to just focus on the two of us, enjoy the meal and soak up the beautiful blue skies and the waves outside, I can’t help painting a few dark clouds on the horizon. No matter how much I try to “think positive”, “carpe diem…seize the day” and all that, life is what it is. It takes sun and rain to make a rainbow…light and dark. I love rainbows and paint them in my waking dreams. I guess that’s what it takes to make a rainbow but I would still love clear blue skies all the same!
But in the end as much as the company, the food and the view were all out of this world, like anyone who is caught up in the daily family cook fest, I was also grateful that the meal was:
a) Cooked by someone else
b) Didn’t come with a toy included.
c) Child free
d) Didn’t have to clean up afterwards
e) Wasn’t served in a clear plastic container.
PS: Got through yesterday’s hospital visit much better than last time. Didn’t get quite so freaked out by the white hospital gown and woke up feeling very refreshed after a blissful sleep.
Must confess though that I did indulge in some chocolate cake on the way home. As I said, you always need to balance the light and the dark… beautiful dark chocolate flourless cake with a white chocolate button on top!
But… we did have a gorgeous healthy salad with the dinner tonight. I really am trying to eat healthy to be healthy. I’m about to take this to a whole new level so stay tuned. This is up there with the Tai Chi (I have been once) and takes a bit of educating, planning and commitment. I have to keep reminding myself that chocolate is not my friend but it can sound so convincing: “Don’t lie, Rowena! I know exactly how much you really love me!!!”
Wish me luck and an iron will to resist the temptation. I’m completely surrounded but I just need to practice the two-letter word….NO!
I’m sure I can do it!