At my table I tasted burnt butter for the first time. Burnt just the way it should be – on purpose – not by accident. So good!
That evening, at that table, was no accident. An old friend sat opposite me. He knew me so well. He had planned that evening just as he knew I would like it.
I liked it. It was an old Italian restaurant in an old arcade in Sydney. The restaurant had been around too long to be trendy. Just how I like it. An old soul of a place for an old soul of a girl.
My friend had set the scene for me as we drove into the city centre – well, he didn’t need to do much scene-setting. He knew me and he thought I’d like it. So I could rest. I could imagine the place, knowing that it would match or better my imaginings. It did.
We approached on foot, down a beautiful darkened arcade where shopping had ceased for the day and old lantern lights lit our way. An elevator with old, iron-caged doors, lifted us to the third floor.
Such a beautiful place. The room softly lit with candles. The tables softly laid with fine white linen. The air softly filled with conversation.
My friend knew me well. He knew I wouldn’t order freely once I saw the prices. He knew me well enough to say on the way in ‘I’m planning to have three courses. I hope you will too.’ Discomfort anticipated and laid to rest.
Menus laid on our table. Food ordered. Food brought.
Oh, that burnt butter with sage over fresh ravioli!
Oh, that dear, old friend who knew me so well and wished to celebrate another year of the me he’s known for so many other years!
A table prepared lavishly for me, laden with grace.