It was the first time I had seen her in just under a year. The first time any of us had seen her in that time; for some of us, maybe for even longer. Too long for all of us. Too long for her.
So of course the first course of the night was burgers.
There were eight of us, all told, three men, four women, and her; and the burger restaurant (it was a local place, and had a wine menu, so it was a restaurant) didn't take bookings in advance. There was a fairly long initial wait while they set up enough tables to seat us all, and between us, the umbrellas and the bags we blocked up most of the entranceway. More than once we had to form into line to let people pass (some to leave, two to enter after telling them we were a single group, and many times to stand close to her and talk.)
The meal started with chips, maybe homemade, and habanero salsa. Most of us dipped very gently; she actually ate some of the salsa itself, rather than the liquid in the jar. It took a soda, an entire packet of sugar, and a few glasses of ice water before she stopped feeling it. An appetizer plate (the macaroni balls were interesting, the rest unremarkable) later, the burgers themselves came.
A shot-glassed serving of cole slaw on the side, some chips, and at the center of the plate the burgers themselves. They were enormous. Not for nothing the forks and knives; in the end I wasn't able to finish the bun. It was washed down with at least three glasses of water and a glass of hard cider (Angry Orchards, I think, but I'm not sure any more.) Best part of the meal: sitting next to her.
Once we'd sorted out who paid for how much (she wasn't allowed to pay for any of it - we were hosting), we went for a walk around Davis Square to digest a bit. Hit a comic book store, and spent a fair bit of time browsing but not buying; and then on to the desert for the night.
Frozen yogurt. The place had a pallette of green, orange white and brick that reminded me, vaguely, of the original designer-color iMacs, reinforced by the rounded shapes of the furniture; it was the comic dystopian future of a 1990s Apple technocracy. There were sixteen flavors of frozen yogurt - vanilla, chocolate, coconut, pineapple, wedding cake, strawberry, peanut butter, butter pecan, gingerbread, eggnog, coffee, brownie batter, raspberry and bugger but I've forgotten three others - and it was self-serve, with the final purchase being priced by weight.
I wound up splitting between I think wedding cake, vanilla and coffee/brownie twist, topped with a handful of maraschino cherries. Not really my thing, to be honest. The flavors felt a little imbalanced, and the frozen yogurt a touch gritty from, presumably, ice particles. I ate it all anyways.
The guy who organized the whole affair had to leave at that point, and the rest of us (after some quibbling) decided to have a drink before we parted ways. The bar in question was a downstairs lounge; we were seated along the wall, four inside, three outside. It was as dark as the hotel bar my father took me to in Japan once, as an example of a bar that's dark but not shady; all it really needed was a baccarat table somewhere and it could work as a James Bond set.
The two remaining guys had Cokes (he had work; I had a two-hour drive ahead of me.) Everybody else had hard ciders, and we spent a good time filling space and providing no real revenue for the establishment, which was probably happy to see us go. (Note to self: next time, bring more small bills.)
We parted ways at 11:45, when the very last trains of the night took us in different directions.