Years ago, when I was dating a man I should not have been dating, for a variety of reasons I would eventually come to understand, his father and stepmother took us out to a fancy dinner in Cambridge, MA. It’s a place called Harvest. It’s nice but not too nice and it’s good food and it was an awkward time. But that’s not the point of this story.
We were handed menus and I was trying to find the right thing to order, something that wasn’t too expensive, something not too cheap, a menu item with a description which included ingredients I was familiar with. I chose an item called “The Rabbit Salad.” And I thought: Rabbit Salad! Cute! A salad with all the vegetables a cute little bunny would eat out of a vegetable garden. Adorable.
It was rabbit meat on a bed of lettuce. A breast of rabbit meat. And lettuce.
I ate it but I didn’t like it and that isn’t even the most memorable part of this evening. After the dinner and the strange and uncomfortable dinner conversation, I made my way across the bar area to the coat check to get my coat. It was very crowded and I get quite claustrophobic in spaces filled to the brim with people. Put me in a tiny coat closet alone and I am just fine, happy actually. But lead me into a large open space filled with people and I freak out a bit. So there I am carefully managing my intense need for personal space in a place in which there is none and I find myself face to perfectly tailored grey suited abdomen with John Malkovich. My nose grazed the wool of his suit, his hand instinctively ran across the leather strap attached to his European carry all. I looked up at his face and smiled and said: I love your work. And he smiled and said: thank you.
I looked back towards my boyfriend and his father and stepmother and mouthed: John Malkovich! And his father yelled at me across that crowded but not particularly loud room: WHO IS THAT? And I melted into a puddle and slid my body towards the coat check and then ran for the door. I do not know how to end this post, but I will say that this memory was served up to me while my dentist was looking at my x-rays, noticed I was wearing a shirt with pigeons on it and then told me a harrowing story about her aunt and uncle who were on a trip to Europe and were served a pigeon with its little feetsies still in tact. Troubling! So I told her my rabbit salad/Malkovich story and we all had a good laugh. Brains! They are just a marvel.