I am back from New York and not nearly recovered from jetlag just yet. Two exhilarating weeks later, I am really happy to be in London. Each time I come back from my travels I find myself needing to go back to an old favourite. Comfort food outside the comfort of my own kitchen. I first walked into Busaba Eathai when I worked in London in 2001. Its easy to go wrong with a large room and communal seating. Busaba gets it so right: from the reassuring incense and flattering lighting to the tall windows and quirky M/F signs outside the washroom doors.
I don’t remember when I stopped asking for a menu here – its always the same order and the food always tastes fantastic. Thai Calamari with ginger and peppercorn (£4.70), Green Chicken Curry (£8.50) and Coconut Rice (£2.70). When I dine here with friends I also always order the Guava Bellini (£5.50) – this is so easy to do at home with some Real guava juice and a half decent Prosecco. Tonight I felt like a Singha.
The service is swift and rarely sociable which is perfect for tonight. I find I do my best thinking among the largest crowds. The struggle to find an inner quiet allows me deeper reconciliation than the quiet of my couch. Tonight my mind wanders to the most wonderful weekend spent with friends from school. I had not seen Deepa, Sharmeen and Chanveen in 18 years and now thanks to Facebook I’m finding my way down a familiar path I have missed for so long. As we said goodbye my dearest friend gave me a hug and said “You’ll be fine, you don’t need a man to complete you.”
Fifteen years ago Jerry Maguire’s “You Complete Me” became the benchmark for declarations of love, and made life very difficult for the regular guy. I couldn’t wrap my head around this then and I still don’t get how an incomplete person can ever completely love another?
There was a lot of talk about marriage and by the marrieds these last two weeks: The guy from work who proclaimed the “forever marriage” was very difficult, only to later confess that he was talking about the “forever monogamy”. The couple who believed that their whole was always greater than the sum of the parts; and the other couple who needed to nurture the each before they could be there for the other. Expectedly, every version of marriage I have ever seen is different. My hundred questions have begot as many answers. All except one, that is. Whenever I have asked how she/he knew that he/she was the right one. Without exception I have always got back a “you just know”.
The closest anyone has come to helping me demystify such a commitment is when he said, “It’s not about whether you can live with some ‘one’ for the rest of your life, but ask yourself if you can live without.”
I don’t want to wonder how to live without someone. I don’t want any completing, nor am I looking to be someone’s missing piece of a puzzle. To start with, I’d like to find someone who never, ever makes me feel incomplete. And then I hope that I will have at least one moment when he just gets me.