For the first time in six weeks, no mid-level administrators, no visiting scholars, no artists-in-residence, no junior associates, no senior assistants, no mentees, no prospies, and no traveling spouses of acquaintances from college accompanied us on date night, last night. We were alone together, beyond our bolted townhouse door, for the first time since Thanksgiving. Things began on a sweet note. We took the train to a trendy new trattoria in the South Loop. We shared a cigarette under a streetlight in the softly falling snow. We held hands across the table and ordered Whiskey Sours. Things soured, as a result, rather swiftly. The waiter—an impassive, moustachioed hipster with a map of Hades tattooed on his neck—refreshed our empty goblets and withdrew into the shadows with a bow. My husband glowered through his grain-fed-duck-fat fries. I speared my quail confit through angry tears. In a cozy corner booth, a lovestruck couple with thighs entwined under the table hurried through a half-carafe of house red and hustled off into the night without dessert. We downed our dregs in stony silence, and when the candle on our table fizzled out, at ten to ten, we forked over the exorbitant tip, hailed a cab for the extortionate ride down Lake Shore Drive, and shelled out a final fortune to the spent sitter, who was drooling on my pillow in front of The Bachelorette when we got home.
Copyright © 2016 Suzanne Buffam
Used with the permission of Canarium Books.