Sonny's - Portland, ME

I wonder how many chances I’ve missed? How many potential significant others I’ve failed to engage as they stood, fidgeting, behind me in line at CVS? How many mentors I’ve neglected to strike up a conversation with at the bar before a show because I chose instead to sit in my apartment, watching the same movies I’ve always watched? How many vital friends I’ve not made because of the way they looked so confident among their own group of friends way over there on the other side of the room?

            I suck in cold air that prickles my nose and mouth. Opposite me the sun falls, singeing the clouds and breaking the sky into fathomless neon blue. Buildings are shadows. My breath veils my view, dissipating as fast as it comes.

            What paths have I missed? What friend that I never made would have kindled in me a love of the tactile beauty of throwing clay upon a pottery wheel? Which enthusiastic young woman — perhaps one I’d passed after making brief eye contact in the aisles of the grocery store — brimming with enthusiasm and passion, would have broken my self-consciousness for good and all, ushering me into a lifelong love of flamenco or modern dance? What lonely old man, whose porch I happened to be caught on in the dead of night looking for a trash can in which to hide the evidence of underage drinking, did I run away from, and in so doing failed to uncover the tranquil majesty of car repair? All these people and paths I missed, why did I miss them? When did I miss them? And who led me to this path now?

            Cars flow by as I walk. They pass, one after another, a stream of stillborn relationships, lost soul mates, phantom enemies, dead friends. Surely what I have missed engulfs at least a hundred thousands times anything I will see or do.

            I think of the highway, scores of strangers traveling in the same direction with the same goal at the same time — all anonymous — and am humbled.

            The day still turns.

            I lower my head against the blinding sunlight. I don’t try to make eye contact with any coalescing outlines in my path. By the time I recognize features these people are past me. A father and mother, their children stomping the brittle sidewalk ice like Lilliput giants. A young woman clicking along, professional, her bag clutched with white knuckles. A young man like me, head down. My ever-growing past engulfs them.

            Why not take a chance? Catch an eye. Hold a smile. Simply a glance requires all of my effort and all of my heart and each time is like ramming my head through glass, steeling myself for the pain as I smash the palm of my forehead against the pane of my personal box’s window to emerge clear-eyed, ready to connect. And how fast the wounds heal with each fresh smile. And how quickly they re-open at the inevitable unspoken goodbye. The skin never toughens; it is virginal each and every time, always feeling the pricks and slices of every shard.

            What else have I missed? Would I want to see the list? I think not. It must be overwhelming, depressing. And what of everything I am destined to miss in the future? Would I want to see that list as well? Try to shorten it somehow? Would my paralysis break? Would I become something more? I don’t think so.

            Two young women approach — I can hear them — laughing carelessly. The left one’s sunlit waterfall of brown hair bounces luminescent upon the shining shoulders of her purple coat. Of her features I see a mouth first: porcelain smile inlaid with teeth like pearl trim. Then the pencil-traced drops of her eyes, curling up in mirth; I am part of the scenery. Her friend tosses her golden hair and I can smell it on the wind, floral and clean. Another foreign universe, already past, gone.  

            The sun dips its toe out of sight, reddening. An earth tone panorama reveals itself to me as if sprung from the earth’s crust of its own accord.

            Every day it goes and it goes. I ignore future friends. I gaze mute at unremembered lovers. I avert my eyes from my lost enemy who would eventually become my closest confidant. I forever lithely skirt the chance to change.

            But all those people must be missed — I convince myself. Everything is at the expense of everything else with time the taskmaster shoving me along. If I stopped to meet every person then I’d do nothing else. Spouting hi and hi and hi to all the hurrying bodies flowing by. I’d meet new people, but would it be enough to offset the value of the time that I could use to cherish those I already know?

            I don’t know.

            All of humanity is summed up in each person, yet each person is just a facet of humanity.

            I walk on in my time.

            I choose not to dwell any longer on these thoughts. I choose to enjoy the people I’ve met, if only because they are the only people I will ever know. I choose not to stay with the people who only value me as a mirror through which they can see themselves in a new way. I choose not to stay with the people who look to me to provide their whole personality. I choose not to stay with the people who use me as a springboard for their own ends.

             I choose to stay with the people who are full and share themselves with abandon.

            The sky is ablaze as I rap the thick door once only. Its hinges creak as scents and laughter bubble around its open corners. Inside the apartment the windows are fogged. Friends and family — they are not discrete to me — shout my entrance. I sit and laugh with the best people I can ever know. Kin by blood and choice, the ones who make me feel awake and alive whether it’s with love, frustration, joy, sadness, anger, envy or a combination of those and so many more. I no longer care for what I’ve missed; its vast abundance is immaterial. This company is both the future I’ve chosen and the future that has been chosen for me. These people — in their specific, unrepeatable yet familiar splendor — alone are the raw materials for this untold story of existence that will at last be forged in the smithy of my soul.




Gastropub to the nth degree. The food at Sonny’s is reminiscent of what you’d scrounge up at grub-slinging bars in the same way that a gecko is reminiscent of a Dreadnoughtus. Cubans, burgers and fried chicken sammitches abound, as does a confit chicken quarter and a formidable hanger steak. Good beer selection, fine craft cocktails as well. I’ve heard the brunch is a fine thing, but have not partaken just yet (I’d trust it to be quite good).


Let Dad Pay

The quality comes with a price, but not one that’s too steep for the taste. $$$-ish


Classy New England Living Room

With a panoramic bar window that gazes over Post Office Plaza and a wood-jammed interior — converted from the former old Portland savings bank — to match the coziest of Maine nooks, Sonny’s deserves an enthusiastically avuncular pat on the behind.


You Done Good… Son

Even being a pain (I switched from a table to the bar halfway through my meal), they accommodated like champs. Yes they can serve.



Absolutely a tip-top place to go. The ambience, food, booze array and service combine to form a Voltron-esque dining force. Put Sonny’s on the “sure bet for a fine time” list if you have a squidge extra cash in the pocket.

Sonny's Restaurant

85 Exchange St.

Portland, ME