Thursday, September 05, 2013

My Farewell Party

We met for dinner. Which was a good thing. The Irish and I sit across from each other talking. Both of us were acutely aware that this will be our last dinner together for a good long while.

“It’s just for a while,” he said.

“I know.”

A while can be a long time.

When the waitress came over, I told her it was my last night in Daegu.

“I’m leaving. I need wine.”

“You can’t leave.”

“No, really, I am leaving.”

“When will you come back?”

“I’m not coming back.”

“Noooooooo….” Her face scrunched up into a half smile and she dragged it out in disbelief.

“Jinja. I need wine.”

“Okay, I have something.”

At this restaurant I stopped asking for the wine menu about eight months ago. I just went in, told her how much I wanted to pay for a bottle, and trusted her judgment. She knows I like Chilean reds, she knows I don’t like things too spicy, she knows I like round notes and lots of berry flavors.

She brought a bottle to the table a few minutes later.

“It’s my treat,” she said as she opened the bottle and poured a taste.

2005, Italian Grape. It was perfect.

I smiled and drank it happily. The Irish and I enjoyed our dinner and conversation, and pretended as much as we could that nothing was changing, and that we were okay, and that things would be good.

They will be, but it’s been a hell of a month.

When I paid up, the waitress really did give me the wine for free.

I researched it later only to discover that my going-away present was a 150-dollar bottle of wine.

I’m going to miss this country.

Expensive wine.

An amazing chef and hostess who always had a table for  me.

And, well, this. Always this.

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