Drinking from Fate’s half-full hand
Hopes, fears, and half-full beers? I’ll have another, Fate.
My husband took a new job in a new state. It was one of many abrupt changes this year.
Our kids are young adults, but only freshly so. Their season of free laundry, hot meals, and mom in the kitchen has been upended. They stayed. We left.
Only one of my kids has seen the new house. It is smaller and quieter with walls that have never known their fingerprints. It is an unforgivingly neutral space.
Don’t get me wrong. I was looking forward to my mommy retirement, but there was supposed to be an off-ramp from active parenting, a chance to decelerate. Instead, we spun off the multi-lane highway, over the median, and into...an Illinois cornfield.
One neutral Saturday, my husband and I decided to catch an art show because, why not? My husband suggested we go out to lunch first because we could.
We decided to try Nancy’s, home of the deep-dish pizza, which is hilarious as every square mile of this state is home to deep-dish pizza. Well, that and corn.
Nancy’s sign made us laugh.
“Soup of the Day: Cold Beer.”
My husband was so amused, he stopped to take a picture because he’s one of those people now. I watched him, feeling cynical and missing home.
We sat in a small booth. There was an older woman nearby, thoroughly enjoying a slice of pizza, and a silent couple looking at their phones.
The waitress appeared, a little flustered. We asked what was on tap, and she turned red. It was her first day, and she didn’t know what was on tap. She returned with an older waitress, who had a beer list. My husband asked her about the sign.
“We got tired of people asking us what the soup of the day was. We don’t serve soup.”
It was dark humor and I appreciated it more than the beer list.
We looked at the list, all craft beers with crafty names. One brewing company caught my eye: “Hand of Fate”.
That’s a loaded name for a brewing company. It got me thinking about fate’s hand and how I felt slapped about by it. Of course, we had to order one of their beers.
The waitresses left and we started talking, first about pizza and then we talked about hopes and fears.
For the last 25 years of divide-and-conquer child-raising, we have rarely talked about hopes and fears. More often – logistics and budgets. Once upon a time, however, we preferred to talk to each other over anyone else in the world.
Our waitresses returned, the older one holding a frosted, half-full glass of red ale.
“This is the last of what was in the keg. You can have it on the house or I can bring you something else.”
I looked at fate's half-full hand and started laughing. Not just a chuckle, a belly-busting, ugly-snorting, tear-inducing, people-staring guffaw-attack. My husband joined me. As did both our waitresses.
“Do you want something else?”
Not on your life.
She set down the glass. I wiped my eyes and picked up my phone, taking a picture because I’m one of those people now.
Then, my husband and I drank our fate.
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