This is a surprising place.
It yields grudging glimpses.
Beauty of some other sort.
I'm not sure what to do with it.
But after a long day pedaling the steep, windy inclines, I no longer care. We're so tired we almost don't wander from our rickety room
in search of dinner.
It's cold. It's dark. The full moon has yet to rise.
We're not even sure that we can find dinner. Of any sort. Unless we catch it.
But hunger drives us
around and around
until we find the one tiny restaurant for miles and miles.
It turns out to be a tiny house with twinkly lights out front, barely a sign. Something out of a fairy tale set by the sea.
Inside three of the six tables are full. Germans at one. South Africans at another. French at the third.
They're drinking beer. Eating fish.
They all look at us as though wondering where we've been.
I'm so tired I think I know them from somewhere. And then I think I'm back on the bed dreaming this, a feeling that doesn't go away when
an older woman with a net around her black-dyed hair appears as if out of nowhere and seats us by the window.
She hands us menus and asks us if we want a drink. We do. Beer from as close as is local. That would be Halifax, she says.
We nod. Halifax is good. Halifax is fine. The thin crease she's making with her lips makes me wonder if she thinks so.
This is her restaurant. I can tell. Her name's on the faded sign outside with the twinkly lights.
I ask her what she is most proud of on the menu. She gives me a long hard look and says, The chowder. Have the chowder.
Without waiting for our order, she heads through a swinging saloon-like half-door into the kitchen.
And out swings a boy. Maybe ten years old. Skinny, blonde buzz cut, wearing a white waiter's apron cinched around and around his waist, two red plastic glasses of water in his hands. He comes over and places them on our table.
Do you know what you want? He takes a pad from his pocket and a pen from behind his ear. Opens his eyes wide at us.
I'm sure this is a dream. Some shape-shifting's going on. Full moon night.
We order the chowder. And fish for after that. He raises an eyebrow. I want to ask him if the eyebrow is about the chowder or the fish.
But you don't ask a character in your dream that. So I don't.
After a while, he brings the chowder. It is the best I've ever had. Beyond words.
I want to tell his grandmother--I'm sure she's his grandmother--and she appears right then at the table.
She's not surprised about the chowder. This is not news to her. Nods as she takes away our empty bowls. Asks if we want another beer.
I try to get the boy talking.
He's not happy about it. I tell him he's the best waiter we've had in a long time. Maybe ever.
He nods. This is not news to him.
But he raises his eyebrow and says, as though it's a secret, that he's not exactly excited about school starting back up soon, and that his grandfather made the graveyard for the unknown sailor out on the point and that he died last year and his grave is the lobster one, did we see it?
He pauses and then says, The winter, well, the winter is wild up here. And he passes his hand through the air.
It's time to go. They want to close up.
We're the only ones still here. The Germans, South Africans and French left some time ago.
But there's something.
Something slipping around me, just out of reach, just out of sight.
But I'm that tired I can't chase after it. We pay, leave a tip, and we're gone.
It's better this way. Let it be. Inscrutable. Resistant. All its own.