In which our intrepid hero pulls off the perfect evening.

After a week-and-a-half with my sister over Christmas and New Year, and five days housesitting with my girlfriend (Mim K/W), I returned to the office yesterday to plough back into the work year.

Whilst the small mountain of paperwork awaiting me was a little concerning, it wasn’t too bad a day, overall. Mim K/W gave me a lift to work on her way home from my place, and we stopped off for coffee before I went up to the office; the day pretty much cruised through in peace and quiet after that.

As I finished up, I gave Mim K/W a call. She’s a huge karaoke fan, but friends of her ex-boyfriend recently had her banned from singing at one of our favourite drinking establishments. She didn’t manage to get any work done yesterday, instead embroiled in a flamewar on a Sydney karaoke forum.

She was tired and upset, so I asked—if she didn’t mind driving back halfway across Sydney—whether she might like a shoulder to cry on; I’d even cook dinner for her.

I jumped on the train home, proofing a draft of a play that one of Mim K/W’s friends wrote, getting off a station early to pop into Woolworths to get something to eat. I called her to let her know it was safe to leave home as I walked the kilometre or so back to my flat.

Stalking through the leafy, local back streets, I had an idea.

I desperately rifled through the garage and the back of the wardrobe in the spare room, then began to clear my dining table of the huge mounds of paper, mail and books that usually conceal it from view.

Mim K/W arrived just as I started excavating the table. Usually, we just eat in front of the television, but I said to her that “tonight, we’ll eat at the table, like civilised people—not that I know any. I’m told that civilised people eat at tables. There you go.”

Together, we cleared the wreckage, threw out a lot of old mail and removed the stains of a couple of years’ gaming. I then led her to the lounge, where I massaged her feet.

It was getting late—like I said, there was a lot of stuff to move from the dining room table—so I put dinner on, shaking out a handful of parmesan I had in the fridge for Mim K/W to eat whilst I cooked.

Although I couldn’t find the Sibelius CD that I was after, I popped on Górecki’s Symphony No 3 instead.

Once dinner was ready, I asked her to organise drinks, if she liked. Fortunately, I had a bottle of 1999 Lehmann semillon that had been sitting at the back of my fridge for a few years, so we had wine to go with our meal. I sat her down and told her to close her eyes.

I dashed to the closet under the stairs to grab what I’d dragged up from the garage: two three-branched floor candelabra with votives. I placed them around our end of the ten-seater table, lit them, sat down and and gently urged Mim K/W to open her eyes again.

500g Home Brand spaghetti: about 60 cents;

A can of Leggo’s Spaghetti Sauce with Beef: $2.45;

The look on your girlfriend’s face after a hard day, realising her man has cooked her favourite meal, complete with classical music and candlelight: priceless.