They are all going to laugh at me. They are all going to laugh at me. Did that happen before they poured pigs blood on Sissy Spacek in Carrie? I can’t remember. But that is how I felt walking into Cantwells Tavern on my birthday, February 14th, Valentine’s Day, the day of love.
I couldn’t have asked for a better pre-birthday surprise dinner with my family the night before. My teaching partner and our class had a great time at Brookeapalooza. Yes, I named my own party. It was the day of love and I truly felt it.
I called the restaurant the day before and made a reservation for 2 at 4:00 pm. I wasn’t expecting Prince Charming to join me. But I had the option to invite a friend if I chose to do so. I never asked anyone to join me. I parked, grabbed my journal and walked into the tavern like I was royalty.
When the hostess greeted me. I gave her my name and she asked me if I wanted to be seated or wait for my party to join me. I told her that it would just be me tonight. Her smile turned into a sad lip and she touched her heart. She told me we could wait a few moments. I assured her it was okay and that I wanted to be seated.
It didn’t help that I had my bling “It’s My Birthday” shirt on. She asked if it really was my birthday, on Valentine’s Day. I told her yes and she said “Awe”. But not awe that’s so sweet. It was more like Awe, you poor soul. I’m thinking girl don’t kill my vibe. I am trying to “carpe my diem” here.
As I walked to my cozy table. There were couples dining and even a man eating alone. Keep in mind. I was not trying to find a man. I really just wanted to see if I had enough courage to get through dinner.
When my waitress came over to greet me. She was very sweet. To get over any awkwardness she might have. I told her I am eating alone, yes it’s my birthday and I know it’s Valentine’s Day. She passed me the drink menu and said. “Girl you need to try What She Wants!” A cocktail with a pink sugar rim sounds like a winner to me. And it was.
The name of the cocktail, What She Wants stuck with me. I began to reflect on the things that I want. And also the things that I don’t want. As I glanced around the room I took in the details of the fireplace, the art work and the smells coming from the kitchen. A group of older ladies sat across from me. They all waved. First, I thought they must know my mommy. They continued to smile and make eye contact.
Any other time I would have struck up a conversation but today was different. Today was about me. My waitress was nice. She checked on me often. I wrote in my journal and really enjoyed the time to eat, pray and love myself.
I tried not to laugh when the waitress asked me if it was my first Valentine’s Day without my husband. She asked how long had it been and I replied almost five years. I didn’t realize that she assumed I was a widow. When she asked if he had been sick. I looked at her and said. He didn’t die. He cheated. Bless her heart. She turned red. And came back with another What She Wants cocktail! That’s a win-win!
The day of love was absolutely perfect. I was able to write, enjoy a meal, sing karaoke style in the car and chat with some of my girls from Michigan. My ex mother-in-law even called to wish me happy birthday.
I don’t want to turn back time. I am embracing 46 and what this year has in store for me. It’s my turn because now I know what I want.