The Amazing V. and I set out for a neighboring town to India Raj for lunch. (All morning, I got a warm, happy feeling in my stomach whenever I remembered I'd soon be filling with vegetable vindaloo.)
We arrived at India Raj at 3:07, only to learn that they'd closed at 3 and wouldn't reopen until dinner. Dejected, we headed back for her minivan and stuffed the children back in. The warm feeling in my stomach was replaced with a cold loneliness.
"We could try that other Indian place in Newtown," V. suggested.
"Yeah, let's do that," I said, even though the food didn't taste as good as India Raj's. It also cost more.
"Let's go for pizza," shouted a little voice from the back.
But I wasn't in the mood for pizza, not Connecticut pizza, anyway.
Valerie drove on, and as we passed the beautiful old stone houses and lattice-balconied stores and the mossy ponds with the tree branches coming straight up out of them, I kept thinking, "Wow. I am just so lucky to live here. It is the most beautiful place on earth."
I said to the Amazing V., "You know, I really could go for falafel. I haven't had a falafel since I moved here four-and-a-half years ago."
"Yeah," she said. "But you can't get falafel in Connecticut, unless you count that dried-out thing we had in downtown Shelton."
She hung a left into the parking lot of the Newtown Indian place. The sign on the door revealed that it, like the other, was closed and would not reopen until dinner.
"What's with these people?" she asked.
And then we saw it: Across the street stood a little hole-in-the-wall Greek market.
"Check it out," I said. "Greek food! Do you think they have falafel?"
(Although the state of Connecticut is home to many Greek diners, I have yet to find one that serves falafel. But I was feeling lucky.)
"Let's try it," said V.
We popped out of the van and into the store. A strapping Greek man came toward us.
"Do you have falafel?" I asked him.
"Yes, I have falafel. How many you want?"
At this point, we rounded up the children and seated them at tables in the back.
"I have a funny story to tell you," I told the owner, as he brought out our orders. Then I told him of my desperation for a decent falafel since I moved here.
"Where are you from?" he asked.
"I used to live in New York when I came to this country. Where did you live?"
"Near Northern Boulevard."
"I know it. I used to work at the Saravan Diner."
"Get out! It's impossible to get falafel in Connecticut, you know."
"Yeah," he said. "Everyone here wants hamburger, cheeseburger, fish fry."
Before I left, I ordered a gyro to go for Peter. When he and I were dating, we used to eat them at a Greek place in Flushing near his apartment.
Some people will insist that my falafel acquisition moments after uttering the words, "I could really go for falafel," is coincidence.
But the Amazing V. and I do not think so.