Sandra, my love, my dear, my everything. I want to show you how much you mean to me tonight, on the fifth anniversary of us pledging ourselves to each other in matrimony. Yes, of course I have a reservation. Now, put on your finest sweatpants, we’re going to Applebees.
That’s right, babe. I’m excited too. The double doors swing open as we barge into our local chain like a Wild West saloon and are greeted by the host. “Welcome to Applebees,” he’ll say with a bright smile. “Just the two of you?”
“We have a reservation,” I’ll smirk at him, placing a proud hand on your shoulder as you beam up at me. You’ll kiss me with excitement about both the man you married and the prospect of a Long Island Iced Tea.
Brian, our host, will seat us at a corner booth. No table will do for us on this special night; we must have the coziest booth, next to our favorite mural of a local high school sports team. “We know those guys,” I’ll whisper to you, nodding to a sixteen-year old track star on the wall. We don’t know them, but the fact that they’re local makes us feel connected, important.
We’ll play-fight over our appetizer choice, before laughing and telling our waitress we’ll have the mozzarella sticks and the boneless chicken wings. I’ll whip out a coupon and ask “I can use both of these, right?” as you rub your hands together in excitement, beaming at your man. She’ll call her manager over and after thirty minutes of me pleading my case, the manager will accept the coupons. “It’s the right thing to do,” I’ll tell her.
I’ll lick my stupid little fingers free of my baby back rib bbq sauce and reach across the table to hold your hand. “Are you sure?” you’ll ask me, as I hush you by placing a sticky finger on your perfect lips. “Of course, my love. Anything for you.”
You’ll giggle and look longingly into my eyes. You’ll lean close and whisper “I’m ready,” into my stupid little ear, and I’ll know exactly what to do, ordering the brownie molten lava sundae with two spoons. Both the spoons have a little bit of residue on them because the dishwasher never quite does its job, but we don’t mind. Whatever meal that residue came from was probably just as delicious.
Finally, we’ll lean back and instinctively place our hands on our laps, full from our 3-course anniversary feast. “You want fries with that?” Brian will ask as we exit the restaurant. “You could also swap them out for an applesauce or a salad.”
It won’t make any sense because we’ll be leaving, but we’ll nod to be polite. “Eatin’ good?” I’ll ask you. You’ll smile. “In the neighborhood.”