My prospects of love on the cusp of 2016 were bleak at best. In the same six months, I’d ended a long term relationship, had my workplace of four years close and was undertaking a custody battle to keep my children from being moved to Halifax. You could say that my baggage was pretty heavy.
One fateful day in the thick of unemployment, I got a hot lead that my most beloved and frequented restaurant “The Sleepless Goat” was hiring. Taking a big leap outside of my field, I applied-and despite my total lack of relevant experience, got the job (perhaps on my passion for food alone?)
It was on the night I found out, filled with exhilaration- that I first saw Rad. Like a sign from above, or at least a well placed potlight-seeing Rad for the first time was as close to love at first sight as I’d ever gotten. I left that night with Rad still a stranger, but with high hopes that the small town nature of Kingston might bring them back into my orbit once again.
Who should show up on my first day of training, but the dream boat of a mystery human who they called “Soy Latte” (People in food service often call regular customers by the thing they always order. Also favorites-Mango Juice, and The “All the muffins” guy) Something I can tell you- a solid way to get a vegan to fall in love with you is to have “Soy” in your nickname. From our soon daily interactions, I learned all about our commonalities (Food! Books! Feminism! Coffee! Music! The West Coast!) and I soon became convinced that we were meant to be. When I learned that Rad was a cook at a fancy french restaurant and had gone to culinary school, it was all too much for me to bear.
Things started to get good when Rad inquired about working at The Sleepless Goat. I happened to be the one taking applications, and when Rad casually asked me out for a beer to see about what it was like to work there-my schedule suddenly cleared in a big way ( imagine a desk full of stuff, and then someone taking their arm and dramatically sweeping the whole thing off, that was my schedule) It didn’t matter that I had to fly my kids across the country at 5 am next morning by myself,and that I had nothing packed, we were going on a *DATE* (probably supposed to be more of an interview, maybe should have made that more clear) I showed up to our date (interview) on a patio, with a big container of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies-because that’s how I was going to charm this vegan chef. So after going on and on about how great it is to be vegan, Rad gets up to use the restroom and is wearing a hat that says “Seed to Sausage”, and is pictured-a pig all sectioned off into cuts. Which is frankly pretty weird for a vegan to wear…….waaiiiiitt. Turns out, Rad was not a vegan ( like really not, the only thing he had in his fridge when we met was beer and tubs of rendered duck fat, ew) but an enthusiastic chef with a particular soft spot for the frequently grisly art that is french cooking. We cooled a bit from this point on, as you might imagine. A few months later, we had a position open up in the kitchen and Rad was a shoe in.
As soon as he started working there, the best job in the world turned into the only place I ever wanted to be.
Rad would say adorable things like “Brew Urns” in reference to the Simpsons when it was time to make more coffee. I was the only one that thought it was funny. And I had nonchalant reasons to show off my mad cooking skills by “sharing it with my coworkers”. Over time, our work relationship grew into a friendship.
February 6th was the first time we hung out outside of work, and subsequently the first time my children were introduced to Rad. It was a magical day in the middle of a cold Canadian winter, where for some reason that probably has more to do with tragic climate change instead of romance-it was a solid 20 degrees warmer than it had been the day before or that day after, and the first time I had gone outside to play since winter had begun.
Everything was melting, birds were singing, vitamin D was crackin’, we were on the shore of Lake Ontario, and I was with both my kids and the biggest, longest crush I’ve ever had.*ALL TOGETHER IN THE SAME PLACE* They adored Rad from the second they met him, and what was supposed to be a quick walk turned into a glorious 6 hour interlude. Right from the start, the magic of what we could be was apparent.
Around Valentine’s Day, I couldn’t wait any longer to tell Rad how I felt as I assumed he would of course feel the same way. I decided on a hand made Valentine made out of my favorite sweater that read ” I like you a latte”. Nice and subtle. I was certain at this point that we would sail off into the sunset together.
That isn’t how it worked out, however.
Rad didn’t say anything back for *FOUR MONTHS* and in fact, the one time I asked about it a week later-he said he was “still processing” Ouch. Four months is *10,368,000* seconds more than one wants to wait for a response after you confess your undying love. During this time, since it was clear that nothing was going to happen, I tried to settle into a platonic friendship with the love of my life. While stuck in what felt like purgatory, many other life events happened. Our beloved workplace, The Sleepless Goat was forced to close. Going through the ending of a business and the ending of an era was one of the saddest things we’ve ever had to do.
I was terrified that after our workplace closed, I would no longer have reasons to message or hang out with Rad- my plan to ride off into the sunset would be a bust. After a noticeable hiatus when it closed, we resumed our friendship a few months later right where we had left off-with perhaps even more adventures as we had time off together. Soon, we were both looking for work and ended up getting jobs at side by side restaurants in a tourist town (Gananoque) 20 minutes from where we were both living. Rad started talking about moving out of our town to be closer to work, and I realized I might die without him close . My new plan was essentially to try to casually pass off moving where ever he moved.
On the day *before everything changed*, Rad had spent their one day off playing with my kids, made a spectacular supper for us and made fresh bread for me so I wouldn’t have to stop at a store on the way home from hanging out at his house.
We spent the rest of that evening on Snapchat-sending bread puns back and forth until the wee hours of the morning.
I lamented painfully to my best friend later, “how can he*not* see that we are meant for each other?”
And then, Rad did.
The next day, after a over year of patient pursuit-Rad finally, *finally* asked to kiss me. Probably mostly out of spite for my torturous four month wait and also because the children were there-I said no. My resolve lasted less than six hours however, and I was at his house as the day broke to collect my long awaited romantic moment of a lifetime. I knew by that point that if Rad would have me, I was in it for the long haul. By the time Rad became my person, we had already supported each other through some very dark days, reveled in one million bad puns (bonus points if they were Simpson references), learned what gave the other joy and discovered in each other things that transcended outside beauty.
So, with this retelling of our love story I’m going to finish with: Rad is the adventure to my safe, the laughter to my tears, the spark of life to my boredom, and the roots to plant growth.
Rad helps me take risks, do hard things and never tries to reign me in when I dream big (really just tightens his seatbelt and says “give er’ hell”). He is the greatest thing I’ve ever manifested, and the love story of my life.