Sitting at Orbit’s, in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Low-key and calm at the moment – “are you going away with no word of farewell? Didn’t mean to treat you unkind, you know that was the last thing on my mind.”
Perhaps six years ago I was brought here. The trains passing out the back window, old stone and wood. I remember travelling South from Baltimore to rescue Amy from her parents for a while with Bennigan’s and tallcakes. I think all three flavours were consumed. Frightening proportions of flesh to ice cream throughout that visit.
I remember Orbit’s as being a stereotypical burger-bar. Maybe with a ribs night and hubcaps hanging from the ceiling. But I’m sitting here and there are tofu subs and really spectacular vegetarian chilis and Christmas lights.
And frankly, I’ll fall for anyplace that’s lit by Christmas lights.
I fall for energy and passion and bright eyes, and I remember the Loves I had last time I was here. Tonight, our waitress, Kiki – sort of fits the bill. Very pretty and kind of … I don’t know… just bright. Certain people have a type of energy to them – you think they could light up any room they are given.
“Kiki” – Like Wikiki – NOT “Kinky”. Apparently a distinction she’s had to make in the past.
Anywho, the drive down here was grueling. It reminds me of how nice it was to drive the 60+ miles between Loveland and Boulder and never come down from 75 miles per hour. Here we travel the forty miles from DC down to Fredericksburg at about 15, occassionally coming to abrupt and jarring stops as the assholes ahead of us pucker and quiver over their break pedals. Perhaps a guardrail has startled them… or maybe the sky has freaked them out again, and all the commuters need to slow down and take a closer look. I know how we fear the unknown, and those bizarre patches of blue sky amongst the clinging grey of winter’s embrace… well… I can see how that’d freak a guy out, you know?
Anywho, Kiki – if you ever read this, speaking of not freaking out, I’m aware you’re prolly about 18, have no fears, I’m just saying you seemed like a cool woman and I liked the fact that you served water with HUGE slices of lemon in them – unlike those other places with their fucking teeny SLIVERS… Bastards.
The open mic continues – and I think it’s important that I make the distinction that when I say “relaxed”, I do NOT mean “unprofessional”. Some people use relaxed as a metaphor for “no-one cared about anything and didn’t know how to run a musical performance”. That’s not what I mean at all – “shit” would perhaps be a metaphor for that.
But no, Orbits is simply “relaxed”, which depending on my mood I can really enjoy.
And my estimation of the whole night just went up as Ralph opens up with a Tom Waits tune. Hell yeah.
Over the course of the night, I’ve been really pleased, and am actually unhappy with the fact that we’ve got to leave early. Some really cool people – people I’d like to hang out with, invite them to PLOJ, that sort of thing.
Anywho, we’re staying with Amy’s parents tonight (well, parent, as one parent is back in Baltimore, staying with Amy) and we needed to be in earlier than later. It’s the sacrifice one makes for Living on another’s schedule…
It’s strange. The last time I was here, there were several cats and a huge labrador retriever named Buttercup. She was a great snuffly beast, a creature which allowed me to first make the association between Audrey (my girlfriend through much of college) and large, happy, clumsy puppies.
Tonight there is a great beast of a cat outside (is that Shakespeare? but I thought Shakespeare was dead? Is it a neighbour’s cat? He doesn’t seem to want to come in… he’s HUGE!!!) and a little black dog that really reminds me of my mother’s dog, Hey You. (yes, there’s a story behind that name – no, I’m not telling it right now)… she surprises us as Heather gives me tango lessons in the darkened Living room. A doggie yawn and reproachful eyes are the only acknowledgement of our presence – also reminding me of Hey You.
The house hasn’t really changed. It’s still immaculate, still beautiful, still one of the nicest kitchens I’ve ever known. There are clementines and bagels laid out for tomorrow’s breakfast, and Chris (Mr Amy’s Dad) pops down for a moment in flannel pajamas to make sure we’re ok, and know where everything is.
I Love all the homecomings that we receive – so many to homes we’ve never been before.
Anywho, so – Heather gets Natalie’s old room, and I get Amy’s. Which is strange. Most signs of her ownership have been erradicated, more from Amy’s complete takeover of her new space than from any effort on the part of parents, I feel… but there are still the tell-tale sculpted bugs and a music box. I didn’t feel like being so invasive as to wind up the box and hear the tune, but there was the feeling of something precious left behind. I like seeing Amy’s name engraved in gold. It’s the way it should be.
Anywho, I should be sleeping rather than typing, but I’m sort of hesitant to lay down my head. (IS THAT AN AMY HAIR ON THE LAMPSHADE?!!!? NOT likely but possible.. hee!) This is the first time in our travels that Heather and I have had separate sleeping arrangements, and neither of us sleep well sans the company of the other. It’s just been… the way things are… for the past 4 and a half months. I’m worried that I’ll have nightmares sans her soothing warmth.
It’s been a good night, and I’m not ready for it to end, but I think Heather’s very ready to close the door and take a break. So that is the way the night shall flow.
Oh – and a note the restrooms of Orbits… so, in the men’s room, right in front of the toilet, is a heat register, which at first is really nice, cause I’m sittin there thinking… ahhh! warm air!!! Up the pant legs, insinuating it’s way through my leg hairs… quite delightful… but then I got to thinking about all the guys standing up…. and maybe dribbling… and about how that gets down into the heat duct, and probably never really gets cleaned out…. and … gets heated… So I was a little weird about that. And I felt it neccessary to pass along. Otherwise, that’s just ONE more thing between me and sleep.