"What the . . .? Who the . . .? 'Ello, luv." That's David's typical greeting for me when I run into him at Otto or 'inoteca. When I first met him at Otto, we got along well, chatting about this, that, and the other thing, and discovering that we both sang in a cappella groups in college. He gave me his email address, and so I emailed him, but I never heard back. "Jackass," I thought. I learned a few weeks later that he was coming as a guest to our wine
club society. "The jackass who never emailed me back?! Great."
But despite the rocky start, David and I eventually became friends. We weren't necessarily the kind of friends who called each other up to go out one on one all the time -- this only happened once in a blue moon -- but we spent a great deal of time together regardless: wine
club society, foodies, late nights at Milady's, New Year's Day at Nic's, dinners at Landmark, Bellavitae, Una Pizza Napoletana, and Per Se, among others, and, of course, countless nights at Otto and 'inoteca. He's the only person I'll allow to pick the pancetta off of my pancetta-wrapped shrimp at 'inoteca (the crazy fool doesn't eat seafood). We've had some good bonding moments -- I'm pretty sure I'm one of the few friends who knows the story behind the tattoo he won't admit he has, and we've had at least one good boozy heart to heart conversation about relationships. David has been ridiculously generous to me over time -- admittedly due in part to his taste in wine -- but it meant a great deal to me nonetheless. David has become a good friend and a solid presence in my world, so I was stunned to learn that he would be heading to Iraq. I've known it was coming for a few months now, but that didn't make me cry any less after I said goodbye on Saturday night. And considering the amount of time I spend at Otto, I'm sure I will still constantly be expecting him to stroll in. Perhaps we should continue to pour a glass for him while he's away. Sort of like Elijah.
He's due back sometime between Christmas and New Year's. I've promised him steak and boobies upon his return, and emails and care packages while he's away. He's an ER doc, and I imagine he'll be patching up wounded soldiers, which will keep him away from the front lines, but I'm scared nonetheless. All I can hope is that he stays safe and returns quickly. This is the closest I've come to war in my life, and I hope it stays that way. David -- I'm already looking forward to our next bottle of wine.