Friday night marked the fifth anniversary of the Fiery One's and my nuptuals. Unfortunately, it was also the eighth day of the Cindy Virus and the last day of a very difficult work week. Fortunately, and quite uncharacteristically, I had thought ahead and made a reservation for our anniversary supper at our favourite sushi joint, because usually we just show up at places and hope for the best.

What I learned about eating sushi in the middle of a heavy mucus production period is this:
The Cindy Virus + raw fish = a whole lot of indiscernable but nevertheless pleasantly salty jelly-like globs.

I could have stayed home and sucked on the backlog in my sinuses for $50 less. If I snorted some wasabi first, the experience of sitting around with the Fiery One at home while I made nnnhhhuunnnhhhh noises to clear my head would not have been dissimilar to our anniversary supper, because I occasionally made nnnhhhuunnnhhhh noises anyway at the sushi joint so that I could breathe and eat at the same time. I am glad that we went out, though, because otherwise I would have missed out on sharing soulful looks across the table with the Fiery One while eavesdropping on our table neighbours.

At the sushi joint, there are two rooms separate from the main dining room which are built to look more traditional (japanese) with the low tables and floor cushions and multi-paned sliding doors filled with opaque glass. The table in each room is long and can be sectioned off into three parts by two paper blinds, so there were two other groups of guests in our room with us. I love this type of seating arrangement, because everybody is essentially sitting at the same table but lulled into a false sense of privacy by the paper blinds. It is a prime situation for an inveterate eavesdropper such as myself.

There were two men seated beside us on the other side of the blind, and the young man next to me was one of the most dramatic, flailing-handed, voice-modulating gossip artists I've ever overheard.

Oh, well you know Meredith, he said, she's such a bitch. She never has her own money. It's all "oh buy me a drink" and then the next thing you know she's bought a coupla pills for ten dollars that she somehow didn't have when the drinks came.

There were a couple of mumbled phrases from his friend.

Gawd, that night was hilarious. Remember how I had a thing for that guy with the short hair with the blue piece in the front and I followed him out of the bar at 2am? I had been selling drugs out of my backpack and was too drunk to do anything with the money so every time I went in there to get a cigarette there were all these twenties falling out of it, but I was too high to care about impressing him. I don't even know if we slept together. We prob'ly did.

There were some more low mumbles from his friend.

Oh gawd, that guy? He always stands besides the dance floor and ignores everyone. What's up with that?

And on and on went the flapping of his hands and the valley-girl voice and the tales of who was or was not a bitch and what drugs were done to what effect.

He was manic and fast-talking and ON all the time. The Fiery One and I agreed that if we were to have to actually engage socially with him for more than twenty minutes we'd be sizing up his neck to see how hard it would be to break it.

At the far end of the table was a group of university students from Japan. Their conversation was a fresh kind of noise for my drama-weary ears. They mostly spoke with each other in Japanese, and they spoke much more quietly than the drama queen beside me, gabbing away in a soft staccato. Every once in a while, one of them would come out with some perfectly enunciated English. I can only assume that they had recently been taught a new English idiom:

She is chicken.

The rest of them chattered in Japanese.

She is timid. A chicken is timid. She is chicken.

Everyone giggled, and then a couple of them started chanting Chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken. There was more giggling, and then they lapsed into other conversation in Japanese for several minutes.

She is chicken popped up again.


Chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken.

Chicken. Laughter. Chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken. Repeat

The English sentences were always exactly the same in both words and intonation, as though they were learned by rote, and it gave the effect, at least in my mind, of the speaker sounding like a wind-up doll. Pull the string. She is chicken. Pull the string. Chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken chicken.

I'm not making our fifth anniversary supper sound very romantic, am I? Don't get me wrong. We did brush fingers across the table and look at each other over our gyoza with sparkling eyes, and our silly, little, I-wish-I-were-asian waiter called us "you crazy kids". We mouthed I love you to each other when our mouths weren't full of half-chewed raw fish and shared our blackened sesame ice cream off the same plate. Our feet met and massaged each other under the table. I made a joke about the fifth anniversary being the wooden anniversary and asked if he was planning on slipping me any wood. (Oh ha ha, like that joke is not a hundred years old at least).

Laughter aside, though, I would do it all again. I would go through all my old painful relationships. Then I would be lonely for the better part of four years. Then I would move in with my parents just so I could afford to travel back and forth to date the Fiery One in another city, meaning that I would have to go on mood stabilizing pharmaceuticals just to stay functional. Then, we would decide to get married, and I would say yes. Then, I would go through wedding planning with my mother.

Because no one else has a sense of humour like his. No one elses's eyes crinkle at me so genuinely. No one else holds me when I cry and doesn't pester me with questions as to why. No one else smells that good, dances that goofy, or makes better curried cauliflower. No one else on this planet knows me as well and finds a way to love all of it.

After five years, I love him more and in more ways than the day I met him (which, by the way, is the day I fell in love with him, but shhhh, he doesn't know that yet).

It is as though I were born for this.

Did I just show you my underpants?