Pivotal Moments Part III: Bistro 990

Journal Entry: 05032010 

At this time, I hadn’t yet had a preference of wine but red was NOT it. What do I care, I’m dignified! The Author carries my glass from the bar to the table at the front of house and takes the open seat by the window (to be seen?).  

“We don’t sit in the common room,” he quips as if reading my mind. When the server shows up, the Author promptly orders a rib eye steak and other orders follow. As we wait, they joke about lovers (clandestine ones) and occasionally make mention of me ‘Bernice’ who they also call ‘Antoinette’. I don’t care. I know what my name is and who they’re speaking to when they meet my gaze.

Time whizzes by and the food arrives. I shove forkfuls of lobster risotto in my mouth without tasting any of it. Then I opt for a nightcap of Blueberry Tea with Grand Marnier, at the Author’s recommendation. I will attempt to order this drink many times in the future and seldom will it be available.

I watch them banter back and forth. He says I am his student. Am I? Are there others? His friend, the policy writer answers me as shows me pictures of herself as a child. One of his students, she mentions, ‘hunts him down’. The talk turns to Dione Brand whose book At the full and Change of Moon, made me want to delve into a career for which I knew I would never be worthy. I wondered if I’d ever be able to create work that could evoke an ounce of what I felt reading that text. He says, “I was her last week at Michael Chin’s house.” And now I’m saucer eyed without concern about the ridiculous expression I’m wearing. My parents know nothing about their fellow countryman, Mr. Michael Chin, but I do. Yet it still meant something that the Author and the Dionne Brand were there. The conversation has switched to some other topic and with the quick pivot, so too my imaginings of the grand mansion and the occasion that brought them together.

She hasn’t read a lick of my writing and I have barely spoken since the Author quizzed me on the use of semi-colons, but the policy writer, whose career I find intriguing (for that is a writing designation with definitive purpose and perceived power), turns to me and states – not suggests, “Dione would love you.”

“She’s smart!” the Author declares. I think he’s talking about me and why Dione would think I’m grand. And though I was certain my trinity of hosts are three sheets to the wind, my God, it is the finest compliment I’ve received in my adult life. So fine, this is where the journal ends and there’s not a drop more to be said.

Yes.  Yes. Yes. 

This is the last time I would see or speak to the people I met that nigh, and the last time I would step foot into Bistro 990 which closed two years later.

Rest in paradise, AC.

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