Accompanied by the sounds of a jazz quartet, a romantic dinner unfolds, as do desires, where the main dish isn't just sushi.
A soft shimmer flares from a single candle which compliments the profound brown hue of his pupils. Two pints of frothy beers arrive, instantly staining the white tablecloth with a wet rim as they are placed before us. The waitress is dressed in a crisp, black, neatly-tucked dress shirt, and a girthy, velvet tie. She relays that she will return to take our order.
With the dialogue pending, half notes, quarter notes, spontaneous triplets, and fluent slurs are the only things occupying the vacant space between my lips and his. They float throughout this space, hovering over us like speech bubbles in the Sunday newspaper comic strips. His pupils are binary landscapes; solid ice, and snow fermented slopes, yet with an intensely simmering sun above them. They glance through overpriced entrees and unpronounceable menu items as I try, and see the end to their labyrinth, an endless corridor furnished with godly luster, and luminous specks at ever corner.
He is urbane in nature, dressed all in black with the exception of his brown, leather belt and boots. The coarse skin on his hands abide by my desire for virility as does his overgrown stubble. He taps his foot to the rhythm of the song coming from the neon corner of the sushi restaurant. I was taken by him the moment I saw him exiting the taxicab, and his smooth, ravishing salt & pepper hair waltzed with the gentle evening gust.
Upon returning, the waitress notates our choices from the menu on a meager notepad with bristled pages, then walks away toward the bustling kitchen, passing the jazz quartet along her way.
He sways along with the jazz like if it were a sonic breeze, gliding from left to right with ease while eyeing the beer selection. With a stretch of the corners of his mouth, exposing imperfect teeth, he ends the silence–while my sedation continues–by speaking of current events and political zeitgeist. He talks about his father, about the importance of craft beer, and quality over quantity when it comes to the savoring of hops, and wheat.
Current events his father reads while he savors the hops in his craft beer for which he buys for quality, and not quantity. It all would have sounded the same to me.
There is a rhythmic structure to his sentences. They dazzle like the chrome the saxophonist's reed guard is made out of. He speaks in syncopation, orchestrating an entire soundtrack with only his tongue, teeth, and mouth. I can feel the rhythm inside my stomach, my stomach that is hungry, the abyss of which feels cold, and empty. I feed off the beat. Each beat amplifies, and I can feel myself pacing to the rhythm of his voice. Maestro cues his band. I am every instrument at his instruction. To the movement of his conducting baton, I symphonically illustrate my longings through flirtatious winks, and by gently skimming my finger down the glistening beer pint.
My eyes drift away from his in the attempt to repress the yearning which augments with everything he says. I see the waitress with her neatly-tucked dress shirt walk toward us with fish left in the raw, adorned with multiple garnishes. Delicate and sophisticated the raw fish arrives, skillfully sliced, and presented with such artistry. A staple of eastern cuisine, immaculately lit by the candle standing middle ground. We commence the feast, and in perfect timing, too, for I am hungry.
Hungry for his pupils to view more than what meets the eye. Hungry for his lips which intake the slice of raw fish accessorized in pearly grains, and dressed in silvery seaweed. I wish I was that slice. I wish I were his throat which dangles the slice above the stomach, my stomach that’s hungry. A fish on a hook for my hunger. If I were a domesticated whale, that fish on a hook for my hunger would be devoured in elation. My stomach that's hungry would not be hunger anymore. That one fish would suffice. If I were a raw fish, I’d be delicately sliced, and prepared, and presented so that he could view more than what meets the eye. There’d be plenty of me for him to enjoy. Gluttony would be pardoned.
Rarely does one find a table suitable for such a lavish dinner. More than often, the tables are too rigid, too diminutive, or too fickle. This table, however, is just right.
I’m feasting on the fervor of my insides, they’re addicts to his pupils, his tone, his rhythm, the fish on a hook for my hunger. It has been years since I have felt this way.
I sip from the frothy beer as I recognize that I am not only feasting on raw fish. I am also feasting on raw emotion. Against my strongest will, I am no match for the magnetism he exudes from his robust frame. There is a price tag to everything, and for this meal, I'll have to pay with emotion, which is in abundance. I can share the wealth; I can pay for everything myself.
The setting is ideal. The scenery seems to have been customized specifically for this night. I told myself I would never be back here again, and yet, it was I who called to make the dinner reservations, knowing very well that there would be a jazz quartet playing tonight. As he sips from the craft beer, he also sips from faded memories, and obliterated nights, knowing he will begin to create new ones, beginning with the froth sizzling on his mustache.
Some of it begins to drip down the chiseled edges of his freckled face. The percussionist initiates a jazz drum lick from the stage. He licks his Cupid's bow clean of beer froth.
He points to the slice left on a plate. With a shove, the plate is placed on my turf. I savor the sugary, and tangy hints of it, the rose scent that surrounds my tongue and teeth, the sweetness which, toward the end, I know will be bitter.
I let it linger in my mouth without looking at the clock, diligently marking each passing second. I am living in the moment, and the moment is in my mouth. I let the grains and seeds slowly disintegrate. Every passing moment is bliss. I recognize that I have my eyes shut, and so I open them, realizing his eyes locked a stare with mine. His imperfect teeth are exposed again, and he looks just as sedated as I am. Once again, the rhythmic conversation takes place as we say nothing, but say it all.
I wave the white flag.
She with her tie and shirt neatly-tucked comes, and hands the bill, for which my emotional account will be charged. We are fish on a hook for each other's hunger. Our stomachs are still hungry. Half notes, and quarter notes are slowly muted as we exit through the entrance door. Tonight, my hunger is suppressed, the only remnants of it lay on a flat surface, much like the displaced rice pieces from tonight's sushi do on dinner plates.
A dining experience is superb when the dish resembles it's own picture in the menu. Tonight, what was set in front of me did. Without using utensils, I consumed the meal. I bit, swallowed, and bit again. The taste could be described as celestial, as if god itself had prepared this meal. Like a pale blue moon meeting the soft, peachy sand, and kissing it, kissing, and leaving an embedded print.
If this were to be my last meal, I would be satisfied. I would no longer feel hungry. My stomach that was hungry is hungry no more.
I am full.
It has been years since the last time I felt full.
The quartet can put away their instruments now.