Returning to Life in Brookline after a magnificent summer spent in London was almost a letdown, almost. Getting back into the mundane tasks of life is always a letdown after an exciting trip/adventure. I am sure you can understand this feeling. It is a good think Jessica was there with me during this time.
I returned to my studies and my night job at the Boston Beer Works across the street from Fenway Park in Boston. I began a year earlier as a door man checking IDs, primarily before and after Red Sox games. This was a fun job to work as I got a moment or two with everyone who came in or out of the restaurant. Sometimes, on a slow night, we would stand out front and fling Beer Works coasters at a green metal sign on Fenway Park. If we were lucky, the coaster would fly the 50 feet and make an audible “ding” as it hit the sign. Of course there were always people walking by and we had to make sure the boss wasn’t watching, but we had to pass the slow times making only $8 – $10 an hour.
After my London summer, I worked at Beer Works as a waiter and bar tender. The best part of my sometimes late nights, was having Jessica come in to visit. I would use my employee discount and order her dinner. If I was lucky, she’d stay until my shift was over when my smile broadened just knowing someone cared enough to stay and wait for me. We spent the next 10 months traipsing in and around the Brookline and Greater Boston area. Afterall, I did not have a car, just a T pass. Jessica was the one with the 1996 Ford Explorer that took her everywhere. Some of our favorite spots were Kupel’s Bakery where we would get freshly baked bagels on Sundays and eat in the park nearby. We would also head to Zaftigs and enjoy anything from pancakes, waffles, eggs, corned beef to “The Essex” sandwich or the Cobb Salad. Sometimes we still crave those dishes knowing we can’t have them at our fingertips like they used to be when I lived around the corner. Another favorite spot was the Village Smokehouse in Brookline Village. This is a place you take a date when you know you and your date are comfortable with one other. It’s called the BBQ Rib Test (I made this up). If you can feel comfortable sitting face-to-face with a date and not mind having bbq sauce all over your face and hands or watching your date make the same mess as you, then the awkward stage of a relationship and getting to know one another is over and you’ve moved into a comfort stage. Can we all agree on this?
One of our more memorable outings was to the top of Mount Major in Alton, NH. We packed a lunch and stopped at a roadside farm stand to get some fruit and water for our hike. Helping each other get up the mountain and then reaching the top together was fantastic. I remember feeling tired, but relaxed, happy and free. We ate our lunch and I proceeded to fall into a food-induced nap with Jessica nearby, closing my eyelids with the sound of the whistling wind to sooth my senses. What a peaceful feeling atop a mountain with the one you love.
Ok…here comes the revelation. In April of 2003, Jessica and I were to take a road trip to Montreal for her birthday. Jessica arrived at my apartment and watching her come up the driveway, seeing the big smile on her face, the red bag slung across her shoulder, the long dark brown hair blowing from under the soft shearling hat that perfectly framed her face, I realized that this was the gal I was going to marry. I wanted to continue the adventure, regardless of destination, as long as we traveled together.
It had been less than a year that we were dating but at this moment, I remember, I was struck. My heart and my mind were in unison. I wanted to grow old with Jessica and go on many more adventures across the country and across the world with her. We had fun together. Sometimes the best adventure was doing nothing…and we still had a good time with each other.