Bubs and I take our traditional trip to Outback Steakhouse, where we use the gift certificate his first stepmother (now there is a second) sends for Christmas. I eat chicken daintily, leaving much meat on the bones, as if I don't want to be seen eating a thing called Buffalo wings, but tearing into them, first the medium and then the hot ones. We always order half and half. We laugh at our waitress because she calls everyone babe. She calls me babe, even after checking my ID. We wonder, Where is Juan Carlos? the first waiter we ever had here. Bubs has a Fosters, and accuses me of eating the best part of his crab legs.
On the drive home, on his iPod, I listen to Astral Weeks, an album I played the fuck out of when I was falling in love with Bubs. Ohhhh, sweet thing/Ohhhh, sugar baby, sugar baby.
We drive past the Magic Castle, where we stayed during our wedding, and I remember his mother, the day after our ceremony, nearly driving over the cliff out front, the cliff we are passing as Van sings, And I shall drive my chariot down your streets and cry, "Hey, it's me, I'm dynamite and I don't know why."
It is all too much. The first time I listened to this record, ate coconut shrimp at Outback, stayed at this hotel, how different I thought this time would be. It is so far from what I was certain of. I don't recognize it at all.