A day or so before A's birthday this past week, I went to get out some matches and place them near her candles so everything was ready. But then I realized every book in our small collection now has very special meaning- so...I asked my mom to bring over some matches.
REPUBLIC: This is the Asian fusion place we went to a lot when you worked at the Barnes and Noble corporate office in Union Square temping many years ago. It was very early in our dating life and in my experience of NYC too. I found the loud restaurant with heavy wooden benches and green noodle dishes glamourous. I came to meet you on a day off for me and you took me to lunch there.
PIPA: This is a tapas place you took me to for our second Valentine's Day around 18th Street. It's decor is lush and romantic- red velvets and flowers. You got a wonderful table in the corner and we enjoyed our tapas thoroughly, though I know the small portions weren't filling enough for you. You gave me a beautiful candle that I still have- it's clear gel with red roses inside. I think I gave you a big bag with practical odds and ends- including vitamins. You hadn't been taking good care of yourself at that time I think. So...there I was even then...trying to take care of you.
CAFE LALO: This is from when I lived on 83rd Street one summer. We went there with guests who were visiting, and also by ourselves to share a fruit tart and coffee if we had nothing else to do. That's the cafe where Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks meet in You've Got Mail. I liked that movie a lot. You always said Jane Austen was my favorite author- even though it's not true- I do love Mr. Darcy.
WEDDING: There's one from your friend Mark's wedding in 2003. I don't think I attended that wedding. I can't remember if it's because it was small or there was some reason I couldn't go. I think it's the latter and remember feeling bad about it.
UNION SQUARE CAFE: When we got married, the students in my graduate program collected money and gave us a gift card to this restaurant. I think we saved it for about a year. We enjoyed it but it was a bit snooty for our taste, and we talked about how whenever we drop a couple hundred bucks on a meal (which for us is rare), we're always a bit disappointed.
SOOSUNG HOTEL: This is a pack of matches from Daegu- your hometown in Korea. I'm not sure where this came from actually. On your last trip to Korea in April I know you didn't go there, so I'm thinking it's from our trip there in February of 2005.
I am sad that we won't have any occasions or events to collect matches together. Our eleven years together now feels so long when I find things like this. It didn't feel this way before.