The Whole Story | Chapter Eight

Cafe Tu Tu Tango is one of the very best places I have had the privilege to work. It took me in at a time in my life when I needed a place I felt connected to but that was also profitable and worth my time. From the amazing food and unique service, to the spontaneous entertainment and diverse staff, I could tell how special this little restaurant was. It was refined in a way that Bar Louie wasn’t, and more relaxed and cool than NBC Sports Grill. The menu was interesting and the small plates sharing concept was so fun and easy to serve. The staff worked hard, just like me, and they were genuinely having a good time hustling through the restaurant during service. The Chef cooked family every night which really impressed me, because it was never offered in the other places I worked.

This time I carefully kept my distance from the people I was working with. I was friendly of course, and made sure to say hello to everyone and introduce myself, but I didn’t feel a need to earn their friendship. I was so busy working two jobs and I was receiving fulfillment and joy in other ways, that needing to be adored by everyone wasn’t a priority then like it had been. I was dating and having fun and life was good for a little while, until I got tired of the uneasy feelings that can come from casual relationships. I grew so frustrated by the lack of clarity in these relationships that I did something I’d never done before and stood up for myself. I knew that I wasn’t getting what I needed and I was going to spend some time by myself. It had been an emotional year and I had experienced four different jobs by this point. I was socially exhausted and I needed a break. About two weeks after I made this brave decision, I felt something change. New relationships were starting to form because I had made room in my life by letting go of something that wasn’t serving me.

I didn’t notice it at first, but there was one person I became energetically drawn to after about five weeks. We were part of the same intimately sized orientation class, with just two other people, and at first he was just another person in my new experience of this job. But after a while, I started to get that exciting flutter in my heart when he came into work, and I’d spend an extra second looking at the floor plan hoping to read his name. I was so surprised by this because very recently I had shut down the idea of romantic relationships completely but I couldn’t ignore these feelings. It turned into one of those friendly relationships that included hugging, as many restaurant relationships do, not unsurprisingly. If you’ve ever worked in a restaurant you know what I mean. There was something different here though, something special. I felt a fullness in my soul and a light in my heart that felt so electric I had to pay attention to what was happening.

Over the next few months we dated very slowly and really got to know each other. We shared our well protected secrets on our very first date because of the comfort and familiarity that surrounded us. He centered me in a way I had never experienced. He didn’t play games with me, or try to be too funny or tough or impressive. He was a real person who wanted to get to know and understand another real person. We weren’t sure yet how we felt about each other but we can both agree that there was a bigger force at play here. In all the chaos of our lives at that time, why had our paths crossed?

Why had we been drawn to each other in this magnetic way? I wasn’t looking for a relationship, in fact I was actively avoiding them, but that is when the Universe decided that I was ready to receive something and someone that would change my perspective and my life. I had never connected so easily to someone, or been so in tune with my opinions and thoughts and able to express them so freely and easily. I felt so strongly that something was different here, and we were both committed to navigating our relationship with honesty, sincerity, and extreme care and kindness. It’s not been easy or perfect, we have had a lot of obstacles put in our path but we have conquered them together and with the understanding that there is something beautiful between us and in our future. This relationship with Kyle has been the most eye-opening, soul revealing, and heart opening experience for me. I am so lucky to have been ready to receive such a special person.

Lauren D'Agostino