Wednesday, October 6, 2010

110. Cheers

I finally found my card reader so I could upload pics from Cayden's visit! Make sure you check out last night's post again. I just added a picture :)


I have a love/hate relationship with valet parking. I hate the thought of paying someone to park my car when I can do it perfectly fine myself (unless we're talking about parallel parking; that's a whole nother story). I hate that almost everywhere you go in Dallas you're almost forced to use valet. And I hate that I have to tip people for driving my car. I mean, I drove it there and no one handed me any money. On the flip side, I love not having to search for 30 minutes for a parking spot big enough to squeeze into. I love how the valet guys open your door for you and call you "Miss." And more than anything, I love watching my car pull up while I'm waiting on the curb. It sounds crazy, I know, but you never really get to see your car from the outside. It looks like a car commercial every time.

In high school, I drove a black Mitsubishi 3000GT, and I was in love with it. Two weeks before my senior prom, it spontaneously combusted. Yes, it burst into flames while I was driving it down Bear Creek Parkway. Luckily I bolted before it blew, and I'm sort of bummed I was too far away when it finally exploded because I didn't get to do that dramatic diving thing they do in the movies. But I was devastated. Not just because I'd lost my baby, my pride and joy, my speeding-ticket magnet, but because I wouldn't get to see that car pull up to the curb with the valet driver behind the wheel after prom in two weeks. I wouldn't hear it purr. I'd be stuck with some tacky rental like a Corolla or a Neon (I'm not hating, I promise). So what did I do? Exactly what you thought I did. I bought another one. The exact same car. Same color, same year, only with nicer rims. Thank god for my successful Sonic car-hop career.

So when Cayden and I pulled up to Wolfgang Puck's FiveSixty at Reunion Tower, I gladly let the valet guy open my door and call me "Miss." My Infiniti purrs even louder than my old 3000GT.

Besides, tonight was all about treating ourselves. Neither of us could afford this place, but it didn't matter. We were celebrating our birthdays, my UK Cosmo award, the successful roll-out of Cayden's new program at work. We were celebrating each other, no matter what the cost.

The valet guy held his hand out and I grabbed it a little harder than he was expecting. I nearly pulled him into my lap as I used him for leverage. Hey, I said the shoes were cute, I didn't say they were realistic. Cayden came around to my side of the car and relieved the valet man of crutch duty. I wrapped my hand around Cayden's biceps and we both looked up. The restaurant is called FiveSixty because it sits 560 feet above Dallas. The restaurant is at the top of the tower, and it looks like a giant glowing golf ball from far away. Cayden had said he wanted to see Dallas, so that was the only way he was going to see all of Dallas in four days.

"Wow. It's beautiful," I said, trying to hold my balance while I peered at the very top.

"No, you're beautiful," Cayden said, then we both laughed at how cheesy we were.

He led me inside the tower to a fancy desk.

"We have 8:00 reservations under Whitney," I said to the glamorous-looking woman behind the desk.

"Perfect. Just take the elevator to the 50th floor and they'll be waiting for you. Enjoy your meal!"

The elevator doors closed behind us and Cayden pulled me against him. He kissed me softly.

"Look," he said, gesturing to the back of the elevator. Through a large window, we saw Dallas disappear below us. We walked to the window and I pressed my face up against it, not even caring that a million greasy foreheads had been there before mine. We both stood there, holding hands, feeling like we were in a word of our own, completely separate from Dallas or London and light years away from NYC where we met.

The elevator dinged and the doors opened, and suddenly our little world was merging with the one on top of the tower. Our elevator silence gave way to a hum of light chatter. I took one step out of the elevator and nearly toppled over. The floor was cobblestone. Clearly the designers hadn't stopped to consider that the women dining at this restaurant would all be wearing heels. Either that or they had, and they had a sick, twisted sense of humor like me. I'd love to be the person watching the security tapes, seeing elegantly dressed women roll their ankles and grab onto their well-dressed men for dear life.

I steadied myself on Cayden's arm and we walked carefully and slowly to the hostess stand.

"Whitney?" the woman asked.

I nodded.

"Follow him to your seat and enjoy your dinner. Oh, and happy birthday!" I'd forgotten I'd mentioned our birthdays when I made our reservation, so I was surprised to hear that they hadn't.

We followed the tall man wearing all black. That's when I remembered the restaurant would be moving. FiveSixty spins slowly so the diners can get a full view of Dallas during their meal.

"Weird. Only the floor is moving!" I pointed out as Cayden and I stepped off of the cobblestone and onto the hardwood floor. The center of the restaurant, where the elevator, bathrooms, kitchen, and bar were located stayed still, while the floor and all of the tables rotated gently around it. I wasn't sure if it was the heels or the height or the spinning, but I suddenly felt drunk. Good drunk, not crawling-in-my-underpants-in-front-of-my-family drunk. I felt light headed. I felt so happy to be there with Cayden.

"How's this table?" the man asked, stopping at a table against the floor-to-ceiling windows.

"Perfect," Cayden answered.

He was right. Sitting down across from him, holding hands across the table, and staring out the windows watching Dallas move ever so slowly below us was perfect. Absolutely perfect. I felt like we were on top of the world (excuse the tacky pun). But really, things couldn't have been better.

"You look so happy," Cayden said, pulling my attention away from the twinkling lights below us.

"I am so happy. It's just weird to think about. The whole thing, really. That I'm about to be 25. That I'm a magazine editor. That I just won an international award for this spur-of-the-moment blog I randomly started a few months ago. That I have a British boyfriend and he's wonderful and perfect and more than I could ever ask for. And here we are, all dressed up, celebrating at this beautiful restaurant," I said. "I feel like a grown up."

I was having one of those out-of-body experiences. I was an outsider looking in at my life, wondering, "How did that girl get so lucky?"

"I know. I can't believe I'm in Texas of all places. How did we get here, baby? You've completely changed my life," he said with the same distant look in his face that told me he was also on the outside looking in.

"Shall we celebrate with a bottle of wine?" I asked, opening the wine list. One glance at the prices and I slammed it shut. "Or not."

He laughed and took the menu out of my hands. "We deserved wine," he said.

He opened it and studied it carefully. We'd decided beforehand that we were going to split the bill, as our birthday gifts to each other. I make shit for money, and he's spending all of his on plane tickets to come see me. I knew he wanted to treat me to a nice bottle of wine, but we both knew we couldn't afford it. Then I remembered the cash my mom gave me.

I took his hand from across the table. "Babe. My mom gave us some money to spend on our birthday dinner. I have $100 in my clutch right now. So try not to stress too much about the bill."

"Really? Wow, that was so nice of her! So, what shall we pick?"

Luckily, I've never had the luxury of nice wine, so I was accustomed to the cheap stuff. I took the wine list from him and grazed it for anything under $100. My eyes bulged when I saw one for $2,000. I looked around at the people around us, wondering why the hell anyone would spend 2 grand on a freakin bottle of wine.

"This one. Let's get this one," I said, pointing to a $40 bottle of something I couldn't pronounce. "But you order it, I'll sound retarded. And even if you can't figure out how to say it, you're British, so you sound intelligent by default."

Our waiter stopped by, filling our glasses with ice water. Cayden managed to sound like he knew what he was talking about when he ordered the bottle of wine. If the waiter was judging us for ordering the cheapest bottle, we couldn't tell. He hid it well.

Once our glasses were poured and our appetizers were ordered (organic chicken dumplings for me, salt and pepper calamari for him) it was time for cheers.

"To your birthday," I said.

"To our birthdays," he said.

"To your success at work," I said.

"To your blog award," he said.

"To us," I said.

"To us," he said.



  1. I've never been to FiveSixty (due to lack of $$) so I'm glad I got to live vicariously through y'all! What a lovely way to spend your birthday's together!! Definitely a night to remember. :-)

  2. awww ! I like that picture too!

  3. i was in Dallas this past weekend for the first time, and I saw the FiveSixty restaurant when I was there! It was cool to read your story and then see it when I was visiting- kind of makes it feel real!

  4. It IS real! Beautiful restaurant, right?