55.  February in the City, Moving Right Along

The next morning I went out into the city.  Market Street would get my attention today.  And yes, I tested my thigh power up some of the hilly streets too; it was time to really explore my options.  I knew I must get a profitable routine kicked into gear and very soon!

I found an Indian restaurant on Jones Street and I noticed their business hours were dinner only.  Still I was able to enter.  I asked to visit with the manager and it was quickly arranged as that same man in the rather plain dining room was one of the owners.  

Here was a bearded American man named Bill and we spoke for a few moments.  He told me that his friend/business partner, also an American, was the cook back in the kitchen.  He was married to an Anglo-Indian lady and it was she who guided him in the art of her Indian cooking.

The other man, Jack, came out too and I spoke mostly to him, asking questions and sharing my experience.  He explained they were a young business and proposed to start me with only tips and food for pay.  

“If you are able to build our customer base, fill more tables then we’ll negotiate guaranteed wages,”  Bill told me.  As it was relayed to me, Bill was the financier of the restaurant and Jack had the Indian influence.  I seriously considered the offer.

I’d assured the two gentlemen I’d come back by the end of the week if I would accept.  We parted company and then I strolled around for a while to see if anything else would call to me.  

Obeying the pangs in my stomach, I found my way to a nice lunch at one of many local Chinese restaurants.  

Well it’s still winter and nothing sounds better than a good nap after a filling lunch so back to the hotel and up I went for a nice, deep afternoon rest.  

Not long after I got up I received a call from the guys I had gone to the farm with.  They asked if I was doing all right.  That was real nice.  Then they must’ve told the other guys who stayed in the city that I decided the farm was not for me and came back.  

I got a call from them offering their company.  “Hey let’s go get coffee and do some window shopping!”  I certainly appreciated that but realizing the need to focus on the things I must I graciously declined, telling them honestly that I wanted to feel out the city on my own for a couple of days.  

Their response reflected understanding, their disposition most cheerful.  The guys offered their local telephone number so I should call if I needed anything.  That was so kind.

I spent that evening walking my neighborhood stretch of San Francisco, observing this part of America, my current residence, so far away from my youth and my previously known comforts.  All this would now have to become part of the graduated me.

I would serve myself warmed leftover Chinese for dinner.  A nice hot shower would lead me straight to bed and it was lights out.

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23. A Mosquito Net and an Ice Cold Beer

At first as one can imagine, this was most awkward but we were able to push through that stage fairly quickly.  We both seem to want the same thing, to make it work.    

There was a lot of talk which is a good thing.   There were times when only a whole lot of beating around the bush on most topics took place.  

Eventually I was able to confirm at least in my own mind, the past actions of my wife were for the most part, the actions of her parents.  Only sixteen at the time, remember?  She was doing as they were ‘guiding’ her to do.  

Our new home was nice, it was spacious, it was in the right neighborhood and it looks like the place came with its own handyman because he was there regularly, painting this and repairing that.  

It took us a few days to be rightly settled in; groceries, bedding & linens, pots & pans, like that.  Oh yes, most important, must have the mosquito net!  That’s just as important as groceries!

And do you know what?  For the first time since the wedding, we felt married!  We did everything together; shopping for groceries? that was such a joy!  Lucky for me Hemma was a very good cook.  And she seemed more relaxed.  

We were starting to look just like what I thought in my mind a couple ought to be like.  What fun these two young people were having!

When I came home in the early evenings, she prepared fresh hot tea for me and after we had enjoyed our tea together, we’d go into the kitchen.  We worked together to prepare our evening meal.  She would stop for a moment to pour an ice cold glass of beer and we shared that.

After our meal we would settle back in the living room, almost always side by side and listen to an hour or so of the Indian programme on Radio Fiji.  This is how we both wanted our life together to be.  

Right from the beginning when we had those quiet, private little talks; to be together doing only what we wanted with no one placing their expectations upon us.  As husband and wife left to make our own choices, that’s how we both wanted it.

And yes for those of you wondering, we did talk about the loss of our son.  I asked many questions and understandably she mostly cried.  Well, at least there was some closure on that between this father and mother of a child taken away much too soon.    

We began to make plans once again for our future.

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About telling Noori of this new development; she was my dear friend after all and as before, she stepped back over to the side-line.  She knew I wasn’t really available to be with her.