Brad and I went for dinner in the dark on Saturday.
Brad planned the date for us. When he found the restaurant, Dark Table, he asked how I would feel about it. He wanted the date to be a surprise, but knew that there was potential for an event in the dark to go completely wrong.
I have anxiety sometimes, you see.
It is usually brought on when I am in circumstances where I am not in control. Especially in closed environments.
His concern was very sweet but I said yes as the concept intrigued me. The servers were all blind or visually impaired, serving dinner in a dark room.
I felt good about our date before we got there. Excited. We ordered before entering the restaurant. We met our server, Jenna, and I placed my hands on her shoulders, with Brad’s on mine behind me. She led the way.
Jenna was clear with her instructions, placing my hands on the back of my chair and telling us that there was a wall to the right of our table (Brad’s left). I sat, tucking in close in case someone had to walk behind me.
And I stared into nothing.
I literally could not see a thing.
We were chatting randomly, breathing in the smell of food from all around us.
It was very, very dark.
I was fine.
Suddenly, it felt as if the air was being pounded around in my chest. Like it was trying to break out. Suggesting that I needed to get out.
I needed to get out.
But did I really?
I reached my hand across the table, searching for Brad.
He obviously could not see my gesture, so I told him I needed to hold his hand. I was having a bit of anxiety and I needed him to talk me through it.
He reassured me that I was fine.
I was, in fact, fine. Brad asked me to explain how I was feeling.
The pressure started to release when I spoke of the panic in my chest.
And you know what the number one thing is that helped me get on top of my anxiety as I sat in complete blackness across from my love?
I closed my eyes.
As I sat there in the dark, my feet planted firmly on the floor in an effort to ground myself, I closed my eyes. Once I started talking about my anxious feelings, I took back the control they were trying to take from me.
I wasn’t going to let my anxiety ruin our date.
We ordered a three-course meal, with the appetizer and dessert being a surprise. Jenna set our appetizers down in front of us and wished us luck in guessing what they were.
It was in a bowl. The bowl was cold.
I raised the bowl to my lips and tilted it towards me. Something in the bowl fell over.
It wasn’t gazpacho.
Why the fuck did I think it was gazpacho, just because it was in a bowl? (For the record, I can’t remember having gazpacho a day in my life.)
I laughed quietly to myself and picked up my fork. Brad and I were both able to tell that the food was made on a base of sweet potato rounds. It tasted similar to a recipe from Oh She Glows that I make at home, but what we didn’t realize was that the sweet potatoes were topped with guacamole (they told us this after).
Brad had the lamb ragout and I ordered mushroom risotto with prawns for the main course. We discussed what we tasted and what sensations we were feeling as we ate.
As I scooped my fork across my plate in the dark, I noticed that my fork felt heavier when I successfully found some food. I have never given that any thought before.
Brad laughed as he told me that he was using his hands to help eat his dinner in the dark.
But I was a lady, thankyouverymuch. I will place my lips to the side of a cold bowl for no reason, but I wasn’t about to stick my finger into my food. Someone might …
When our desert came, Jenna told us that we may or may not be given the same dessert.
I poked around in my bowl with the spoon resting gently in my dish. I brought it to my lips, tasting a hint of ginger. Ginger cake, got it. As I took a few more bites, I tasted cream cheese, and while my mind didn’t immediately think “carrot cake,” I was told later that’s what it was. It was delicious.
Brad was served some sort of passionfruit mousse (which he did a terrible job describing, as he thought the flavour was strawberry rhubarb which made me think of pie).
As we left our table, led by Jenna, I noticed that there was a soft mat under my feet as we walked. A detail I didn’t notice when we first arrived.
We paid and then walked out onto the street, accosted by the light.
To think that there are people that don’t ever feel the overwhelming need to brace your eyes from the light. I was humbled. It is amazing that there is a niche restaurant for those with visual impairment to not only work, but thrive.
If you get the chance, I highly recommend giving yourself over to your senses to have dinner in the dark.
You might even learn something about yourself, or overcome some things, in the process.
I am so proud of myself.
Think light, even in the dark,