Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Piaceri, The Wedge, Rivonia

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

Service: * * *1/2
Food: * * * *
Ambience: * *
Babe Count: * * * *

Troy Bentley called me this afternoon as soon as he heard about my breakup. "We're having dinner tonight in Rivonia. Join us." I'm up for it, and I tell him.

"Oh, by the way," he says, "I don't mean to be insensitive about your breakup or anything, but I've got a new girlfriend."

I get to the place twenty minutes later than 8pm. That's cos I had an hour to kill before, and headed off to the Morningside gym for a workout. In this Jacqui-separation period, I've clocked up 24 hours in the Toyota Virgin Quest, which puts me in line to win a car or a bicycle or a cap. But I've also found that my mass has come down from an overweight 84 kilograms a year ago to an astounding 78 kilograms as of last night! Still got about four to go before I'm sleek, but I'm quite impressed with myself.

Which is why I'm twenty minutes late. Cos I've been watching babes butts jiggling on the running machines. Couldn't tear myself away.

Think I'm going to have to muster the courage to go into one of those adult entertainment shops and buy myself a masturbation machine. That way I can lie back and think of Taiwan, and not feel guilty about whispering Jacqui's name.

But I digress.

So, anyway, when I get out of my car at The Wedge, it's with the grunt of having just done 56 stomach crunches in under a minute so I could qualify for 3 bonus Quest hours, and I'm still sodden with sweat. Luckily my sweat is of the non-smelly variety. So when Troy's 6'1" blonde babe buddy rushes out to greet me, and gives me a hug, and crouches down to get her lips level with mine, and gives me a soft, deliciously spongy-lipped kiss, no tongue or moisture, I have to apologise. "Sorry I'm all wet," I say.

"That's how I like my men," says Renee. She has an awe-inspiring body, and very yummy breasts. And her butt is just yelling out my name. I'd LOVE to see her on a running machine.

Damn. Pity she's got a boyfriend. And she smokes. And she's not Jacqui. Sigh.

But she IS a babe. And because of her, the babe count would have been five stars, but in honour of Jacqui and the fact that I still love her and want to maintain my own illusion that there's still some kind of hope for us, I've had to knock off a star.

And I go into the restaurant, which is one of those modern-styled places with no patrons. There are about thirty tables, and only three sets of people eating there.

"Hey, Troy!" He gets up, and hugs me. I give him the same schpiel about being wet. He just shrugs. We've been hiking together. We've outfarted each other on bunk beds.

And there's his girlfriend. Redhead. Slim. Angular face. I know it's only been a week for Troy and Linda, but they actually look like a couple. And they look damn good together. Especially with their sickeningly entwined fingers. And the little kissy moments of neck nuzzling. And even though Linda's beautiful too, I can't add that fifth star. That would be dissing Jacqui. I know they're holding back, out of respect for my bereavement.

And yes, this is a bereavement. Losing Jacqui has been a very bad jolt to my system.

But I've come to one or two realisations through this.

The first is this: No matter how much I love her, I really do have to put my own needs first. The space she asked for was impossible for me to give her, and I was suffering quite serious anxiety as a result, with trembling and sleeplessness and near-panic-attacks.

The second is this: her needing space has nothing to do with me. We had a good relationship. The best I've had so far. But it wasn't where she needed to be.

And there's a funny little side effect to all of this. Last night I was looking at her photo, and I decided to put it in a frame. And then I thought, "Hang on! This is curious! I've had four very significant relationships in my life, and I don't have photos of any of my previous loves on my walls!"

So I went through my photo albums and pulled out photies of my previous babes.

Miriam was my first serious love. That was a three year relationship.

Ingrid was next. Two years.

Then came Antoinette. Two years and four months.

And now Jacqui. Ten months.

So now all four of them are on my wall, in an honoured space.

Cos I've realised that there is no reason to hide them from myself or from my next lover. They're a proud part of who I am today, and the insights and changes I've made are really part of their legacy. My previous relationships are hugely important to what I take into my next one. So, Miriam, Ingrid, Antoinette, Jacqui... I salute you, I honour you, I love you. And I'm grateful to you for the learning.

Which brings me back to Piaceri. The waiter is extremely attentive, and brings me my Chicken Tika salad, which would be seriously enjoyable if I had any appetite, and if I weren't filling Troy, Renee, and Linda in on the details of my breakup. They make cooing sounds of support, and make it acceptable for me to feel all right about being bleary-eyed and shuddery of breath.

Finally, I finish my story, and half my salad, and the rest are ready to order dessert. I turn to look at the cake stand. "What on earth's THAT!??" I say.

"Salami cake," says the waiter. It's chocolate, with little bits of shortbread speckling it. From where I'm sitting, it looks like an ACTUAL salami.

"Gotta do it," I say, and add a decaf cappuccino to my order. Malva puddings for Troy and Linda. Nothing for Renee.

When my pudding comes, it's in thin slices, just like real salami. Adds a star to this place. I'll come back for this cake.

"Renee," I say. "I've been reading between the lines tonight, and I want to say something. I'm not sure if I'm outta line here, but I just want you to know that you have a beautiful body. You are mouthwatering."

"Listen to Roy!!!" says Troy. And I know that I've hit some or other button on the head. This beautiful woman doesn't believe she's beautiful.

"Okay," she says, "I'll have a bite of your salami."

"Ditch the boyfriend first," I say. "And can I call you Jacqui?"

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