My train of thought had just taken me to the realization that I connect with her past through the Mexican restaurant down the street from our home in Vallejo. We went to La Bufa a good deal in the first years of our relationship. It was only two blocks down "Hudson Alley" after all. When we were first seeing each other, Kim seemed to subsist largely on scotch and tobacco. But at some point in that first month we made our first trek down to Sonoma Boulevard for dinner. Back at home afterwards, Kim was immobilized by the food. I sat on the sofa -- the one we still have -- while she proclaimed that she was "beaching" herself on my large form. That's how I became "Beach" to her and, later, "Plage."
Anyway, it was at one of our first La Bufa means that Kim told me the story about how she had once come there with her brother Kevin. This information was folded into her conclusion that I looked eerily like him, even if our personalities were worlds apart. Later in our relationship, once I'd finally met her mother, Kim explained that I probably freaked her out because of how similar we looked. Suffice it to say, then, that discussions of Kevin had a weird way of doubling back on themselves, to the point where I felt implicated. My resemblance to him hung in the air like smoke that won't go out the window. It was there the night that Kim took me on a middle-of-the-night search for his grave.
As these thoughts arrived at their destination, I was in the middle of washing this Mikasa bowl that Kim has had forever, one of two that remain from a larger set purchased, I believe, at a Vallejo thrift store. I noticed a few weeks ago that the hairline crack down the underside of the bowl was darkening. "It's going to break soon," I thought at the time. I debated setting it aside as "memorabilia," then decided to let nature take its course.
All of a sudden, I feel the two sides of the bowl slip apart, like a miniature earthquake. And then comes the miracle. Somehow, my hands manage to reunite the two halves of the bowl. Without trying to fix it consciously, without recourse to glue, I bring together what has been torn apart.
Now the bowl sits on my dresser, awaiting news of its fate. In the meantime, I'm taking its fragile wholeness as a hopeful sign. I'm even nostalgic for enchiladas verdes at La Bufa.