Dallas on Ice


The ice storm arrives that night. Against my hotel window, little pellets of ice perform the lightest percussive touches, a late-night soundtrack to lull one off to sleep. Before that though – and before it gets too slick – a dinner at Oak. Sparsely-populated and quiet (the way I like a restaurant to be), I sit at the bar and watch the world go around.

Couples sit at tufted booths, staring into each other’s eyes. Businessmen sit across from each other alternately serious and jovial. The wait-staff outnumbers the diners on this dismal night, but those who have made the trek seem happy to be here.

The food does not disappoint either – and in the land where the deer and the antelope roam, I accept the recommendation for the latter. It arrives on a bone, tender and not the least bit gamey. It is a cozy dish for a frightening night, and after digesting it I just make it back to the hotel intact. It will need to sustain, for the next morning it proves impossible to go anywhere. An inch or two of solid ice has crippled the entire city. Everything from schools and churches to the zoo is closed beneath the thick sheet of frozen water. Somehow, though, wrapped in the sheets and blankets of a large bed, I do not mind it in the least. High above the city, I look over an icy world, safely warm and embraced by the sweet folds of sleep, gently cradled in a lazy morning of having nothing to do and nowhere to go, and a breakfast tray arriving at any moment.

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