Dinner was made, the water still dripping off the lettuce, the sweat on my brow sneaking by my hairline. It is eight degrees warmer where I’m standing, a ceramic pot still reducing to a simmer, the fibers holding together what was a succulent steak having melted some time ago. Steam rising up as the blubbing of the water speaks of borborygmos chatter, the once clear liquid now turned green as the change of states mirrored the change of states.
-“Are you done yet? You’re taking forever!”
“Almost. Just have to blanch green beans.”
Opening the drawer I find the fake shine of the utensils blinding, fresh out of the dishwasher, the automated device meant to make things easier but always a hassle to fill up. Slowly pulling out the gleaming tools, the clanking of the glasses in the left hand; laying it all on the mahogany table. Pitted and stained, worn and abused, scratches and scars, the surface in which the cloth napkins rest peacefully is indeed tired.
Temperature now on warm, lids lifted, steam dissipated, and only empty plates left to fill. It’s a celebration of differences, colors set upon the beige blandness of the plates and dark, lively carbonation hanging onto the sides of the glass as if they know that this is it, if they let go they will be vaporized. It’s a last ditch effort and always felt like a last ditch effort to be noticed, to be appreciated, to be something other than the lingering entity of worthlessness and mediocrity. The green goes first, topped with a fragile passion mainly consisting of water and the seasoned toast squares for texture.
-“I don’t need all of that crap on top of my food, just plate it. You’re not a chef. You’re nowhere near being that good at anything.”
For years I’ve questioned my worth, what value I brought to a place that always felt better than I. Why can’t I ever seem to get it right anymore? Never in my life have I ever felt more like an object, a piece of meat meant for the consumption and pleasure of another. Be strong. Like food made from the soul, all deliciousness takes time and patience but maybe it’s appropriate that I made what I did, a steak with nothing to hold it together because it’s been slow cooked. One day, maybe tomorrow I’ll stand up for myself, but now let’s focus on the meal. Next to the greens I lay the glazed potatoes seasoned with rosemary, a pinch of salt (and one for good luck), pepper and a dollop of butter, baked to a glistening and sweaty perfection. The third portion of this picture of peace is filled with the tenderness I’d worked on for so long, playfully massaging, salt and pepper lightly falling across the rare pink nourishment I was about to sear and consume in the immediate future. Things were going so well…
And they weren’t.
“Food’s ready” said with a genuine smile and a hint of approval.
This is over. I know it, or rather, I knew it. Some prisoners are able to have a final meal, one prepared just for their desire, craving and appreciation – the end is near and they know it. This was mine, and even though I knew it was inevitable, a hole in my heart sinks deeper with every passing breath; constantly absorbing myself in a happiness as individual as a star in the night sky. I am tired, but I will never be ready to go and the importance of that fact will perpetually orbit around my thoughts; my future is now.
-“The food is touching on the plate and the steak isn’t medium like I like it. Could have made a better dinner, stupid, I’m going to lay down. Clean this mess up.”
I don’t ever really know how to feel when I’m here, there’s a familiarity and comfort that I’ve never felt before; there’s also a combative fog that refuses to lift. What are we trying to prove, is there a simple desire to merely do for the sake of doing or acting because we believe the lies we’ve told ourselves? There’s a madness in this method, an interpretive dance that disturbs and vibrates the foundations of my soul like a song where only the deep basses come from the speakers because sound is not appropriate for the circumstance – only the waves under our feet.
I followed my heart like before and it has never lead home, only to an overlook I’d long forgotten, and it’s not where I wanted to be. This feels like new territory for me, but maybe it’s just a plot that’s next to land I already own. So stupid. I am a dented can amongst dented cans, a torn label and checkered tag hide a polish and shine that resides within me — in a discount bin because damaged takes time and the world is impatient. I know what I need to do, what people have said and what my experience tells me, but what if everybody is lying to me, including myself? What’s left? I’ve spent enough time reading between the lines, being burdened by the platitudes of misnomers and divorced understandings; the reason behind the meaning has lost the battle because the purpose was never to go to war. I’m just exhausted.
To love and be loved, to care and be cared f…
-“Stop typing! I’m trying to sleep!”
At one point I saw it as a challenge, something miniscule but worth the attention I would want to give. I don’t know though, am I just being callous or selfish, to feel deserving of a bit of fun and happiness? I don’t think it’ll ever be enough, like the next fix or action that one uses to escape the world, but never will I regret a moment or wish it went some other way. While the memories may be buried under the glare of the present and this current moment feels the way that it does, I love everything. The energy I have always felt when I’m with you, the varied frequency of light that emitted from your presence and constant changes in your colorful soul gave me the motivation to understand change.
A notification comes in on my phone, swiping to the right I open the notification from the app “All That I Do Not Know” and it’s a quote from Mahatma Gandhi:
“Friendship that insists upon agreement on all matters is not worth the name. Friendship to be real must ever sustain the weight of honest differences, however sharp they may be.”
Maybe I’ll sleep on it. Good night.