I was so nervous that Mr. F decided we needed to get a drink in Malibu before we picked her up. Which made us late. Which actually didn’t bother me. Because that meant one more chunk of time in my arsenal of ‘before Tamara met her boyfriend’s daughter’ moments. Also, I’m learning this new thing called living life with a Pisces. The good thing about Capricorns in relationships with Pisces? The Capricorn is forced to chill the fuck out and isn’t always early to everything with pre-printed directions and 6 alternative locations to park. I like to think it helps me fly by the seat of my pants, but honestly it really only makes me nervous and send frantic text messages to my friends telling them we’re running late. Like 45 minutes late. Because my boyfriend is not attached to things like being on time. Wait, that sounded snippy, I guess I’m still a Capricorn after all!
We finally got to Elle’s* apartment and I started to sweat. And I wasn’t wearing deodorant.** There were no more chunks of time left ‘before Tamara met her boyfriend’s daughter’ and now I was going to meet her with an ‘odor’ or at the very least pit stains. We walked up the creepily familiar stairs to her apartment and I hoped she wouldn’t be bitchy. Mr. F had repeatedly told me that everyone loves Elle. Which made me think that I would probably hate her, or at the very least she would hate me. So I did a little out of body out of time work and focused on the window right next to the door that looked exactly like the window of my second apartment in Phoenix. And I started to feel sad about that long ago apartment. Which was completely irrational. But I went down the path of feeling sad about that apartment anyway because I had 2 split seconds to waste. And I thought about the sweet sectional couch we bought from a classified ad (way pre-Craigslist), the washer and dryer, the dishwasher and TWO bathrooms. That apartment on Thunderbird road was palatial. And it cost about $850 per month. Then I did some quick math and realized she was the exact same age as I was when I moved to California. Then I got nostalgic about moving to California, but I didn’t really have time to go down that path because my two split seconds of remaining time ‘before I met his daughter’ had finally expired and there she was opening her door.
Her dad has striking blue eyes, but hers are even more intense. And she’s gorgeous. I shook her hand and tried not to say something like, “It’s so nice to meet you!” But I said it anyway. I guess it’s better than saying something like, “I have sex with your dad on a regular basis!”
And the trip down the stairs to the car all I could think about was how in maybe an hour we would get through the awkward part where I stutter a little and make awkward segues, but that in that hour I would probably trip, if not physically than over my words. Then she talked about how her brother’s wife pees on her own hands to prevent a summer skin condition and the ice was officially broken. She warned me in the car that restaurant was ‘kind of full of heads.’ Which I found endearing, that she would want to warn me about that. I told her my uncle likes to kill things and mount them on his walls, and she assured me I’d be super comfortable there.
Saddle Peak Lodge is nestled in the canyon between Malibu and Calabasas. They have $4,500 bottles of wine and a $250 glass of Scotch on the menu. It’s that kind of place. Needless to say, the water buffalo head and I felt very comfortable there. Granted, the water buffalo had been dead and hanging on the wall for 50 years, but you get the picture.
I changed my shoes in the car. I put on my favorite pair of brown heels and promptly stumbled up to the hostess station. I always forget that it takes me a few steps to get my sea legs.
We sat down in the back garden and the sun was setting and it was a gorgeous night. Elle handed me the wine list and said, “Dad tells me you know a lot about wine, you pick.” I love that Mr. F had told her that specific detail about me. I liked it even more that I knew exactly what to do. If I know anything about alcohol, it’s how to pick a bottle of wine, and how to make it look like I’m picking it based on more than the label. My other uncle, the one without dead heads on his wall, is the inspiration for learning about wine. He has a wine cellar! So I knew how to act when our waiter showed me the bottle and placed the cork by my plate. And thankfully my extensive ‘tasting’ experience taught me how to taste the wine. It actually didn’t matter, no one gives a shit if you don’t know what you’re doing with wine.
So the night progressed and Elle and I talked about everything. Boys and ghosts and what we were going to wear to the premiere and being 24 and the meaning of life and how to get to where you want to go and how to know when you’re there. I got up to go to the bathroom and I told them not to talk about me. When I returned, Mr. F blurted out, “We were just talking about you! She was telling me how pretty and smart she thinks you are!” And Elle blushed, “Dad! I told you to wait to tell her.” It was adorable. They are cut from the same cloth.
The night was finally winding down and Mr. F and Elle wanted to show me around the place. Haunted library and all. We walked up a little path and into the rustic library with African wild game mounted on the wall. Elle went to the book shelf, tipsy, and a girl after my own heart. She pulled a book out and said, “I think I’m just going to take this one home. No one reads it here. I feel bad for it.” She jammed it in her purse. “You pick one too.” So I did. She’s a Pisces, born one day before her dad, and it totally shows.
We drove her back to her apartment and I hugged her goodnight. And Mr. F held my hand and we walked back to his car. “See, I told you you’d like her.” And he was right.
*Elle is not her real name. Nor does it really fit her. But I’m trying something new called, not outing every single person in my life especially when they don’t read things like blogs.
**Mr. F doesn’t like it. He wants to be able to lick my armpit without getting a mouthful of Secret. File that sentence under things I never thought I’d write.