November 8, 2020:
No — there were happy memories. Home from university, we went to dinner together nearly every night.
We had our favorites. Family-level restaurants, not overly expensive. It was good of her to spend the money. I think she enjoyed watching me eat.
We loved Yen Ching. Sizzling Rice Soup and Kung Pao Chicken! I can taste them now.
We loved Consuelo's and Margarita's. Lino's, Filippi's, a local Italian hole-in-the-wall whose name I don't recall. Rarely, Bob's Big Boy, for the fish sandwich.
We never actually explored. These were each restaurants I'd been taken to by friends. Once we knew we liked them, we returned to our narrow circle, certain the money would not be wasted.
I have very happy memories of her smiling at Lino's, across the table from me some summer evening. Later with university friends I had an epic drunk there, with many many bottles of wine. The waitress kept them coming. Naturally that was not an experience she ever shared.
There's a certain irony to food having become our bonding ritual, after my resistance to food all through childhood. It wasn't until I learned, at university, that well-prepared food is delicious that we were able to share. "I should have learned to cook," she once said, perhaps at one of our summer dinners. I now don't remember where.
It's unclear what we talked about. Did we talk at all? We must have. Maybe we just ate together. That would have been plenty, for bonding purposes.