How She Fights:
There’s a tiny pea on the very tip of the last tine of her fork. The pea was probably frozen before it ever made it into the pan with pollo. The fork, with the pea impaled all the way through, has stopped mid-air.
She lowers her fork slowly, taps the wrinkled green orb onto the side of the plate, then sets the fork down perfectly parallel to the plate, with deliberate, yet gentle precision. She has not yet spoken a word.
She folds her hands neatly in her lap. She is staring straight ahead, at nothing. Or maybe she is going through that mental inventory that every girl keeps.
She bows her head forward, as if she’s about to say grace that she had forgotten to say before. It’s not Grace, but it’s grace. On fire.
Finally, she whispers, “You know...” then stops. Deliberate. Calculated. The pause is...for emphasis.
*inhale* Her chest heaves.
*exhale* The weight of ten thousand agonies is pressing down upon her.
She’s staring into the plate of an a la carte crispy taco that is still perched up against the slightly raised edge of the fuschia-rimmed plate to keep crisp, fresh, shredded lettuce in place, exactly as it was when it came to the table. The beans are untouched, the layer of melted cheese now beginning to congeal into a thin, protective yellow and white coating. Without lifting her head, she barely squeaks it out again. “You know...”
She swallows back the tears that she has not yet conjured in her eyes. “You know, I'm really tired of this...” Here it comes. The tears. But don’t give it all away. Just one. Just...one.
A single tear drops into the guacamole that is mottled red with tomatoes and spices, now stained with the tiny, briny manifestation of her pain.
“You,” she stutters though she has never had problems with enunciation before in her life. "Y-y-y-you don’t even try to understand me or my situation...blah....blah....blah...Don’t you think it’s hard for me, too?!?!” Her mind works fast, the words coming out one right after the other, each sentence with increased velocity.
Her voice gradually, over the course of 45 seconds has gone from a barely audible, staccato whisper to a 10 thousand decibal hiss. Yes, she is hissing, and still, she has not looked up from the plate. The tears are flowing like the LA river after a light sprinkle. She has picked up her napkin to dab at her eyes, a dramatic, valiant attempt to “not cause a scene.” But oh yes, she is definitely causing a scene. Exactly the way her feminine subconscious wants to cause it.
The older couple on her right, who probably come here once a week, raises their eyebrows at each other. The trio of girls on the right are whispering, watching without watching.
She is good. She knows exactly what’s she’s doing.
When she fights, she fights to win.
And you better believe that she always wins. Always.
How He Fights:
He gulps down his Negro Modelo.
“Baby, you’re right. Waiter, can we get the check please?”
Such was, as embarrassing as it is to write, the scene at the bar of Casa Escobar. I can’t go into the details. I won’t even say whether the scene at the bar included me, because I certainly wouldn't want anyone to think that leaving a restaurant in tears is a common occurrence for me. Maybe it was just my observation as a third party, okay?! I can’t even really remember what the fight was about. All I know is that Casa Escobar is a great place for Mexican food.
And for Spanish-language tv melodrama.
I have written about Casa Excobar before. The restaurant is a reliable old standby for Mexican food. It’s cheap, as most Mexican food is, and the atmosphere is dark, but fun, and is a weird mix of old school "this-is-Mexican!" decor with new school clientele. With the exception of the grilled cheese sandwich (wtf?) I can safely say that I have tried just about everything on the menu.
My favorite things are the Sopa de Albondigas and the Spinach Enchilada. Soft, comforting meatballs in a salty broth may not know what to say, but just the fact that it tries makes me feel better. The Spinach Enchilada is fresh on the inside, sassy on the outside. *sob* It understands me.
2500 Wilshire Blvd (@ 25th Street)
Santa Monica, CA 90403
** a year ago today, i decided to welcome The Freshmen **