1031 Orange Ave.
March 24, 2004
I've been thinking a lot lately, remembering how we met. I glanced at you as I walked past, trying to be cool, and then doubled back just to look at your menu again. Did I ever tell you that? I came back just to see you. I groan now when I think of my opener, "coconut shrimp and a side of guacamole." Of course, you acted like it was the funniest order you'd ever heard. You're smooth, I'll give you that, your guacamole doubly so, rich and creamy and a little spicy. I must have eaten two baskets of your chips and homemade salsa and guacamole before I even caught my breath.
The sweet honey-cilantro-jalapeño sauce next to the coconut shrimp started me thinking maybe you had long-term potential. Was I naïve to think that you felt something too, some kind of mutual attraction? I lost myself in your white bean chili, flecked with bits of smoked pork, so thick and creamy and cheesy, it was more like a bean dip. I coyly suggested another basket of chips, you acquiesced, and I wondered if it was too soon to talk about love.
Was it my enthusiasm that pushed you away, that brought on that wet lobster burrito? Don't get me wrong, I love burritos, the way the doughy tortilla wrapper pulls everything together in my mouth. But drenched in a super-creamy cheese sauce, how can I eat it, except with knife and fork, picking out bitter pieces of pepper and bland beans totally removed from their burrito-ness? I'm sorry if I don't understand you. Wait wait wait, dammit-I promised myself, no more apologizing.
And I think you're the one who owes an apology, anyway, for that passive-aggressive Swordfish Azul stunt. Honestly, was the pineapple glaze some kind of joke? And maybe tourists like their fish overdone, but not me. The worst, though, was the crusted side of mashed potatoes-that was uncalled for. I hope you saw the look I gave you as I stormed out of the restaurant. I know, I know, sometimes I am too fussy. I'm 36, single, and my closet is sorted by color. What did you expect?
Of course, I came crawling back, napkin tucked between my legs. I'd read about your pescado pacifico-congratulations for your mention in the magazine, and regardless of what happens between us, I'm happy for you, I really am-and started thinking about the good times. I sat down, and you coddled me with a big, light spinach salad. The snapper was delicate, in a light jalapeño cream sauce, and, yes, even magazine-worthy.
My God, I thought, who were you? And why couldn't you be like that all the time? In a way, ours was worse than a bad relationship, because when it was good, it was so good. I know, maybe I should be mature enough to overlook the rough spots. After all, we always had the guacamole.
I know I stopped by late that last night, and I know I had been drinking, but it was not, I repeat, not, a booty call. I just wanted to see you one more time. I swear, you're so hard to read sometimes, like when your carnitas ole comes out dry and flavorless. And you-did you honestly think so poorly of me that you thought I would enjoy that guacamole, watery and brown and leftover from the dinner rush? Even the salsa tasted like vinegary cocktail sauce. If you're too tired to see me, why not just send me home?
Please tell me it wasn't just about the money. You want me, then you don't, then you want me again. I deserve better, and I can't live on this roller coaster anymore!
Oh, who am I kidding-you probably won't even read this whole letter. You have your bar full of Orange Avenue tourists every night. Why do you think I never came by during the lunch or dinner rush? Do you think I'm stupid?
Dammit, I promised myself I wouldn't get angry. Well, I guess I have been stupid and angry, but I'm done playing the victim. I just hope, someday, you find it deep within yourself to treat your one-meal stands with those 'Zonie floozies better than you treated me.
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