It seems like just yesterday I began the journey of a thousand noodles, and now that only a single bowl remains, my wandering into Olive Garden seemed aimless, distracted. As I sat down at my table, a nameless waitress approached me, fear obvious in her eyes.
"Sir, I -"
"Please," I interrupted. "I've been here for 7 weeks now. You can call me Vino."
"No, no, actually, go back to sir."
"Sir. I don't know how to say this. Um." She paused, took a deep breath. "We are out of pasta. You...you ate it all. We can bring you something, but they'll be a little different. Substitutions. Please forgive us."
Lunch was skipped.
Dinner was composed of three plates of pasta:
Grande-Sized Number Six Combo With Diet Coke
I felt a sense of emptiness. This wasn't right. It was delicious, but it wasn't what I needed: the final bowl. The culmination of everything I'd been building the past seven weeks.
A special thanks to my dining companion, Vinegar!