Andy Bennett Posts

The Meal that Almost Killed Me

My wife and I had just completed the trifecta of stress-inducing life events. In the span of two weeks we had gotten married, moved to a new city, Chicago (where we would be living together for the first time), and I started a brand-new job at Northwestern University (where I knew exactly one person).

My commute from our apartment near Wrigley Field to Evanston was nearly 45 minutes. Which I got to spend on the packed red line train, sitting next to a revolving roster of the cast of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest – Public Transportation Edition.

My “favorite” commute was the morning I sat next to a perfectly lovely older lady who smiled and moved her new handbag so I could have more room. We rode in silence for a moment before she asked me where I was heading.

Mon Historie d’Amour avec Mon Estomac (My Romance with My Stomach)

AndyBennet-SEI’m a Minnesotan in Paris. And I’m alone.

It’s not romantic. Paris with the one you love is romantic. Paris while you navigate the rain, the metro transit system, and a creative-writing residency class-load and its homework, is challenging and more than a little lonely. I’m one of the new kids here, and while I’ve made friends, it’s hard to step up to a circle and demand to know what we’re all doing tonight. I’m not built that way. I’m built for books and Netflix. I’m built for empty movie theaters and empty seats next to me on planes. I’m built for my wife. She is my co-conspirator and without her every experience feels drenched in a demi-glace of melancholy that mingles with the January mist and chills my bones.

JESUS. Chill out, Bennett. Someone’s been spending too much time talking imagery and not enough time eating.

And, since I’m in Paris, eating is a must. So I’m taking my stomach on a date. Instead of flowers, I will buy my stomach flour. We will take a long walk in the rain to a restaurant void of tourists, and the wine will flow. And, after a date like this, my stomach will totally put out.

Okay, I may have extended that metaphor too far. But, you know, that’s why I’m in school. To learn how to not make it sound like I expect my stomach to have sex with me.