On Friday, soon after I got home from work, the Beast appeared in the kitchen wearing mint green shorts and a breezy, over-sized button down shirt.
“Today I’m giving you Armie Hammer CMBYN realness,” he told me. “Now you go dress up like Timothee Chalamet.
“You’d be so proud of me today,” he continued. “I went for a bike ride to the outdoor gym by the water and I took off my shirt…”
“But you didn’t, really, did you?”
“Yes, I took off my shirt and was working out…”
“This is in public?”
“Yes, and this woman started asking me questions and I shut that shit down! I said, ‘Girl, I’m married.'”
“You didn’t actually, did you?”
“No. She asked me if I’d ever climbed the rope before and I pointed down to my deck shoes and told her that I hadn’t because I always seem to wear inappropriate footwear when I work out.”
“So you had your shirt off and you were exercising in public and you also had on deck shoes.”
“Yes, and quite frankly, I’m not sure why you’re acting so surprised.”
Just when I thought the Beast had really changed since he came back from L.A., I saw his latest haul from the library.
The sheer variety of titles lead me to believe he hadn’t. This was reassuring because before he even left on his adventure to the land of detoxes and cleanses, a dinner in Buffalo, NY, gave me cause to pause.
We spent roughly 24 hours across the border back in April. The drive and the border crossing were so easy that we asked ourselves why we don’t visit more often. We went to the Albright Knox, which was free with our Art Gallery of Ontario membership cards.
We had a fantastic lunch–Buffalo wings, beef on weck, and onion rings–at Gabrielle’s Gate in the charming Allentown district.
We went to see Louis Sullivan’s 1896 Guaranty building in the deserted downtown core, right after we checked into our hotel, the Lafayette.
After that, we stopped for pints at the Founding Fathers Pub, which is outfitted with presidential paraphernalia.
For dinner, I decided we needed some “authentic” Italian-American food and discovered that Santasiero’s might fit the bill.
We ordered spaghetti and meatballs, chicken parmigiana, pasta fazooli, and a barely drinkable half-litre of red wine and it was fantastic!
Until the Beast told me, right after I’d carved one of those meatballs up, that in six months time he was thinking seriously about becoming a vegetarian and eventually vegan.
“Excuse me?” I said.
“I’ve been thinking about it and there’s just no reason why I should go on eating meat. Simply put, it’s wrong and I don’t want to do it anymore,” he said.
“I just don’t know what to say. This is such a big life decision and I would’ve expected you’d talk to me a bit before you decided. It will effect me, too, you know.”
“That’s why I’m telling you now.”
“That’s the problem: you’re telling me, not discussing the decision. You reached this decision without talking to me first.”
“I don’t really see it that way. I said I’m ‘thinking’ about it.”
“But we are doing our part already to save the environment. We’ve decided not to have kids, we barely drive. But what really bothers me is this: If we’re lucky, we’ll be alive for another 40 years. The next time we go to Greece, or to Italy, or anywhere really, you’re happy to say no to fresh fish, or ethically raised lamb, to a still-warm ball of mozzarella di bufala.”
“What you’re saying is we’re going to be dead soon so why not fuck the planet real good.”
“This is bullshit. And the planet is fucked if you go vegan or not. I understand cutting down. We don’t eat a lot of meat to begin with. I understand buying meat and dairy products from responsible sellers. But this? Did you even think about me in your decision?”
“No I didn’t. I was too busy thinking of the millions of animals that are ruthlessly slaughtered every minute so that we can eat shitty ground beef while the world goes to hell.”
Back at the hotel room, I was cold. Even finding re-runs of critically acclaimed movies like The Notebook, Wedding Crashers, and Stepbrothers, on cable did nothing to sooth my dashed spirits. Nor did the butterscotch sundae I ate, in silence, at Parkside Candy before we crossed the border on our way home.
The subject, however, didn’t come up again–even after his trip to L.A., when I half-expected him to start preparing quinoa bowls for dinner. Although last night, after he started bawling five minutes into a Netflix documentary about Tony Robbins–it truly might be the best explanation of what ails the 21st century–I suspected change was indeed coming.
Today, the Beast had on his Armie Hammer shirt again. I was standing in front of my closet at a loss over what to wear. “That shirt is so beautiful,” I said. He unbuttoned it, although that wasn’t very taxing since the style requires only a few buttons to be done up, and took it off.
“Here, you wear it,” he said, handing it to me, while I stared at his lean, bronzed L.A. chest and then cast a glance down at my own dad bod.
He literally gave me the shirt off his back. Some things, I hope, will never change.