It feels like forever, and like yesterday. The joy of memory, right?
I still find myself wanting to share something with Penny, to talk to her about something, but there's that veil between us that won't budge.
It's been five years since I felt the loss like a sledgehammer resting in my chest the day after it was slammed in.
I still haven't gone through her clothes to give away or sell the things that need to go elsewhere, and to recycle the rest. I have found some of the things I wanted to find, pictures and such.
I haven't scanned in the letters she wrote back in college. Partly this is because I don't really have a "scanner setup" computer station, and partly because I haven't forced myself to take the time.
This year would have been our 31st anniversary. A prime number. When I would do my rare bits of math geekery, she'd be amused, but if it was too involved, she'd point out that she was a math atheist.
All the rules and stuff were made up.
Well, she was right, for nearly everything past arithmetic, the rules and stuff ARE made up. It works, but the wrapper we put around it is semi-arbitrary.
Even though our anniversary is February 14th, I was remembering our habit of anniversary dinners yesterday.
The first anniversary, 1982, Penny made a very very fancy dinner.
A mushroom soup, made the way our favorite restaurant in Berkeley made it. (This is basically a french mushroom soup, made with chicken or veal stock, cream, butter, and fresh mushrooms, and a very small amount of flour. It's actually a white sauce, thinned with broth to become soup.)
Asparagus (steamed not boiled) with Hollandaise sauce.
A perfect sirloin steak cooked to the precise point between rare and medium-rare.
Mashed garlic potatoes extra heavy on the garlic, with a small amount of cream cheese mixed in, and served with butter rather than gravy (although a pan sauce from the steak would have gone well, we didn't know about them yet.)
There was a dessert, and a wine, and I'm sure there was another dish but I don't remember it right now.
I just remember that we were too full to eat the desert and the other thing, just then.
I believe our anniversary dinner the next year (1983) involved a risotto. At some point in the 1983 time frame I began making cheesecakes, mostly for friends. We also watched a Great Chefs episode and found the recipe for a "death chocolate" cake which we modified ... I put it on the net for a friend, and it somehow got migrated and published in the Oregonian food section, word for word including my intentional misspelling of one word (and our names and copyrights taken off, which I yelled at their food editor for, to no particular avail since they continued for a while to take and print things from Usenet as if they were copyright-free).
I miss you, Penny. Tomorrow will be the anniversary day itself, and I'm going to try to take it off, if I can. If I do, then I'll either spend the afternoon at St. Bart's, or I'll take a nap and see if I get another dream conversation.