edible milestones

The Last Supper: Redux

Call it superstition or post-traumatic response, but I haven’t been to a Greek restaurant nor ordered it for delivery since March 14, 2009.

It was the last meal Alberto and I shared, and I still have our delivery order written in my Sharpie handwriting: scallops and salad for me; an order of saganaki and a gyro platter with an extra side of gyro meat for him.

This weekend found me at Alberto’s sister’s place in Jersey, sprawled between my mom-in-law and niece, overhearing take-out options.

We’re not doing Italian again, Barby says.

We can do whatever you want, replies Anthony, her Italian husband.

There’s Greek. Chinese? What about Mexican? Barby suggests.

No good Mexican places nearby, says Tony.

Fine. What sounds good?

This banter continues for another five minutes.

I’m hungry enough to choose for them.

What does Tré think we should have? Barby asks.

The room looks at me.

Greek, I say, half-surprising myself.

I do not explain the significance of ordering Greek when Barby hands me a menu. Nor when the food arrives with Anthony’s gyro platter and extra side of gyro meat. Or Barby’s order of saganaki.

Instead, I inhale scents I’ve avoided for nearly four years.

(Alberto’s last meal.)

Note the faces and voices around me.

(Replicated with his mother, sister, goddaughter.)

When Barby offers me the last wedge of saganaki, I do not say no.

Slowly, deliberately, I slice it in two and share it with his mother, whose yummmm is like hearing the voice of a long-lost lover from somewhere in a crowd.