…since this space is shutting down, I am slowly moving a lot of pieces I wrote there, here, so I don’t lose what is and will always be a part of me.
“You recommend ceviche? Ceviche… as in the dish with the raw fish?” I couldn’t help wonder out loud. After all we are in Texas, the land of steak, brisket, sausage and all kinds of fried and grilled and roasted and braised meats but the server’s recommendation is… seafood? And fresh seafood at that. I am skeptical. I can’t help it.
It was some years back in Austin, Texas. I had flown in from New York. Him from Europe. How or why we were in this random city is a story for another day. It was dinner time. We weren’t in the mood for BBQ or Tex-Mex so I asked locals for dining recommendations. Tallying the general consensus, we end up at Truluck in the Warehouse District.
The server laughs and maintains a pleasant demeanor as though tourists shocked by seafood recommendations in Texas is a frequent occurrence (I think he was just being kind). Before this night, I never imagined seafood as something I would order in Texas, but the server is correct. The ceviche at Turluck is fantastic. The fish is exactly the way it’s supposed to be: firm, dice-sized chunks of a non-descript white fish. The scallops are soft, creamy, slightly salty with a bite. The onions, aptly chopped. The three in my mouth, blending with the punch from the cilantro, and the kick from the spice infused lime juice is heavenly. I cannot get enough of the flavors and textures of ceviche.
There are house-made tortilla chips as an accompaniment that seem almost unnecessary. I am taken by this unexpectedly delicious ceviche, and my dining companion is too. I think we found something special.
Over five hours, two bottles of wine, two appetizers, a main I can’t remember, we got lost in conversation and with each other. I listened as he spoke of his ending marriage and heart wrenching family situation. God, this man is going through so much — how is he even functioning?
If hugging hearts were possible, I think I did just that. I showered this sad man with love and through the 15 days we spent together in Texas, I saw his broken soul transition to one filled with dreams, happiness and… hope.
Before him, I had no idea love so strong, so pure, so unconditional existed. I didn’t even know I was capable of giving another so much. As we said our farewells at the airport, I remember thinking: I don’t need anything in return. I only want to love him.
South Beach Miami, a year and some weeks later. I fly in from NY. Him from Europe. We still live on different continents but somehow maintained a relationship. South Beach is another neutral location we chose to meet over the year. I don’t care where we were. I just want to be with him.