As I pondered what to make of this teaser whether it would be one or three chapters. I decided on two, yes I am that kind of man. So I present Love. I hope you enjoy it and will find the temptation to read more of it as you read the teaser. And I am not ashamed to say that I gave a signed copy to George Takei. You have read some chapters in my posts Companion to Love and Companion to Love 2 so you can see the sides, the duality, the sheer pleasure that is Love.
A small squeal gave out as I turned in my seat. Humidity brought about a thin layer of moisture that would just not let go. My car was out to get me. I strained to survive driving my car every day. The summer was not kind in these evergreen mountains. But then again it never was, there was so much that I hated about summers. My car just added to the pain of it.
People would comment on the beauty and the joy of spending nice camping trips in the surrounding area. I had never been camping before meeting her. I doubt that I would ever go again but we never know. ‘Click’ the sound bored a hole into my skull every time I heard it. ‘Click’ a reminder that I had spent money on something that was more of a pleasure than anything of worth. ‘Click’
‘Dam windows work’ my yelling did little to move the windows.
A bead of sweat built up on my forehead. My little sauna of a car with windows that did not role down. Gremlin, what a piece of shit this car was. But what a name. It was the name which made me buy it figuring the chances would be high that the real ones would never try and harm one of their own. They weren’t. The little bastards turned my little driving box into a lemon overnight.
My skin curled as the bead of sweat worked its way down my face, neck and body. At least I could say that I was working on losing weight. She would have loved the idea of me losing a few pounds, it would have brought a chuckle to her that is if I had dared to bring her with me. The fates had smiled on me this day though as she had decided to meet me instead of riding with me. Or had they…
It was mid-June and here I was on my way to meet my bride to be. I had made up my mind. I would finally ask her. She would have been running to the hills had she realized just how soon I had decided to marry her.
It was common knowledge around my inner circle that I wanted to marry this lovely creature if only for the mere fact that she forced in me changes. Changes which I would not make on my own. She made me a better person and there was no way that I could deny that plain and simple fact.
Here I was driving to some coffee shop she had found in the outskirts of the city. A place she had spent visiting with friends. If my windows had only been in working order. That would be a point of gratitude for leaving the city. At least the breeze would have cooled me in this darn heat. ‘Click’ is the only sound that they made.
Leaving the comfort of my surroundings didn’t even cross her mind. The thought that it had would mean only one thing. That meaning would be that the true fact of such a far excursion was to irk me a little, not so much that I would get angry but… she would have to coax a smile out of me before I would be willing to join in any form of conversation upon arriving.
I often wondered if she knew that my windows of my car did not work. She had only been in it at night. Had she figured it out? The question jumped to the front of my mind.
How could I have been such an idiot?
There was the trip a few weeks ago to Venice beach. She meant to meet me there only for me to find that she had not come and I had to drive back all in a day with flowers melting from the heat.
Her game was up I now knew that she enjoyed making me drive in the heat of day knowing full well that my windows did not function, turning my car into a smoldering sauna as I travelled to any given place.
It was a good thing that my heater worked well or she may have me freezing my skin off on some fool’s errand into the mountains in the midst of a blizzard.
Such was the agony of the first summers where I drove in the heat of the day to some place or another only to find the food barely edible and way overpriced. I would highly doubt that any other man in love with a woman would have fared any better than I.
New Age food never quite agreed with me. This whole eat it raw culture that was blooming throughout the world stank of yuppie health guru hearsay with no real backing in science. What had happened to the world in these past few years? After all I was raised knowing that the only way to be healthy was exercise and yet people kept falling for these health scams.
I would quickly point out to her the constant deathly look of these so called health nuts. Still she enjoyed the seclusion that these places offered. Something that would take me the better part of our relationship to figure out.
These high end restaurants serving little more than rocks and twigs with strong coffee would never survive in a city where the general populace wanted real food.
It was my reasoning as to why they were always out of the way or even better hard to find. There are always two kinds of places that are hard to find when it comes to food. The exotic in which people try hard to find that one restaurant where the food was to their liking. The other are dives, complete holes in the ground with nothing good to their name except the fact that you could forget how to go there very easily as to not make the mistake of ruining your sense of taste again.
So here I found myself driving in circles looking for a wooden sign that stated Curly’s coffee. There was the hope that this was not a hurtful experiment on my sense of taste. But then again she did like to play with me. Even in getting to the place there was the fact that her directional experience was nothing to be admired as the closest thing she would say to an actual street name would be to point out a land mark. Yet I find it rather frustrating to receive a text message with “Turn left off of the freeway and go until you get to the street with the Oak Tree and a local school doing a carwash.”
Messages like those kept me going in circles knowing full well that by the time I arrive the local event would be a few hours over with. I had to become a detective looking for signs of such happenings. I was lucky in this round as two factors played in my favor. The day before it had rained and these yuppie communities always preferred to have their cars washed because natural rain water would leave spots on the oh-so precious paint jobs. The second being the heat of the day today meant the parents would not be so worried about their kids playing with water.
She apparently knew this as the twist in this adventure being a hand written sign which for the love of the great maker was nowhere to be found. I would have to stop and ask for directions which in today’s world was a risky transaction. The younger generations were all used to their new-fangled gadgets and GPS which would lead them to their given destinations while the older generations would be indoors on a day like today where the heat took the mercury to the triple digits.
In the gas station I would make the move to ask for directions hoping that the attendant was someone who would know this mysterious coffee place that I was looking for.
The gas stations were places that I was fond of in my travels outside of the city. They were after all populated by real people not slacking drop outs that could not tell you the way towards a good restaurant since non-of-them were ever from the area where the gas station was located.
* * *
There was always a new experience waiting for me whenever I entered a new gas station. Asking for directions was an easy enough task, though it never came out easy.
She had me where she wanted me. As always any time that I had entered a gas station, I had to prove to the clerk that the place I was going to actually did exist. Then was the challenge of getting intelligible directions which meant a person interested in helping and not in selling a map that most of the time did not have the directions to the place I was going to.
It was what I feared the most. I had to head deeper into the mountains. This would mean sweltering heat. The kind that just brewed between the mountains. I looked outside to see if I would manage to get lucky and catch a breeze pushing the air out of the jagged valley cut into the mountain. There was no breeze to get my hopes about anyways.
Gathering myself for the next part of the drive in the sauna that was my car I headed out. It was not long before I passed a broken down faded hand written sign. ‘Carl’s Coffee shack’ she had said Carly but had she misread? It would not be the first time where she had done this to me. Stopping the car I spent a few minutes in thought before deciding to head back to the ‘shack’. Which is exactly what Carl’s turned out to be.
Well maybe I was being too hasty in my judgment of the shack. It was a quaint little place with only a few misgivings about its true nature. It was respectively from the outside a diner which had been converted rather hastily into a coffee house with a leaning towards a restaurant. The transformations looked rushed, even more as I stepped inside to see the future incarnation of the place would be a steak house. My guess would be that the owner did in fact see the current trend to yuppie food as ending and people would be in fact looking for real food again.
At least that is the expectation that the throwback country fashion nailed to the walls gave. There was even a brand new Jukebox to give it a more authentic feel. Oak was the preferred wood for the establishment as the lingering aroma of freshly cut stained boards still gave off the sweet country smell of natural lumber. There was no-one attending the front which any sane person would see as a seat yourself and someone will be with you shortly, kind of place.
The home-style cooking jumped out of the plates as I walked towards the back of the place knowing full well she would have found the most secluded table that she could in order to brood in her inner most thoughts. The arguments and deep philosophical discussions about to assail me would revolve around today’s topic of choice, Women and their place in society at least that had to be the topic by looking at the waitress in this place. She was dressed in the fittings of the fifties style restaurant fashion. Still it was only a guess as to what she would start talking about.
There was not a single clue as to her choice of topics. She could rant for hours about wines and cheese selections. This, even though she clearly had no taste for either. There were times where her arguments sparked a measure of astonishment in me. Though this was mainly as to the way she had so gracefully connected two seemingly different topics.
Her fickleness and tendency to change trains of thought mid-sentence forced me to pay attention. All of this left me with one only hope, to be allowed a chance to order before the assault started. After all riding in a car better suited as a sauna during the day drained me of not just water but vital nutrients which I was in dire need. I was thankful to the mere fact that proper deodorants of the day kept my underarms dry and prevented the natural order of the human body from coming. I did so abhor the stench of sweaty pits.
No matter how much sun was let in by the windows the table remained dark. The darkness allowing it to go un-noticed even in the busiest of times. This dingy back of the room table was cut off from the rest of the restaurant which made me wonder how she got permission to sit back here. The good points being that the staff saw me arrive as there was an open wall between the table and the cooking section. It was clearly meant for management from a time of the golden age of diners and dives. This specific seating was meant to allow the enjoyment of a meal and still keep a watchful eye on the running’s of the establishment.
Now my trip was over. I was finally face to face with her.
Her bemused smile did little to hide the pure ecstasy she held for making me work so hard to find her yet again. As usual her drab clothing was by far her most defining feature. The army green hemp shawl though looking coarse to the touch was actually quite soft. Her dress a soft hue of purple made of home spun cotton beautifully draped her slender physic. She was not voluptuous and as the crude would put it had a plain figure.
What was the common goal in having overly sized breasts? This question always jumped to the forefront of my mind when I saw adverts for breast enlargement. What could possibly be gained from such a surgery? Well there was the extra weight but they took away so much from the idea of the person.
There was something that would just not fit into the picture should her frame not be balanced. The perfect intricacies of what makes one person attracted to another. Yes there were those that sided with the golden ratio rule but I did not. There had to be something broken something not quite right for me to be attracted. For me with her it was her ability to hide what truly lay beneath. She was not one to flaunt what she had.
There was nothing plain about her figure or her personality. Removing the clothing one would find a well-toned body of a person dedicated to the upkeep of the human form. Questioning her about many topics would bring about discussions and retorts to stifle some of the brightest minds. Well at least the brightest minds that I knew. Oh god how I loved to get angry with this woman.
As was typical for her in places such as this, I found her drinking a soft tea of some sort. Usually something fruity in the fall but as it being closer to mid-summer it was something more earthy. The memory tingling the back of my brain. Strong yet comforting it could only be Earl Grey.
I was always perplexed by her insistence that the waitress bring her a slice of lemon and a touch of cream knowing full well that she would never use either. This like many of her other quirks drove me to her. The need to order the popular only to change it to what she wanted. With tea there was the search for the natural taste of things.
‘I ordered for you,’ she simply stated after I had failed to break the long pause between us. Unaware that I was still standing the cue from her eyes let me know that I should sit down. Not a request, not a plea, but a command. Her eyes never shown in kindness when her will was being defied. There was just the need to push me and see if she would break me. I had yet to give her the pleasure of breaking me. I did not want to turn the first words out of my mouth into a rant. Still my body wavered knowing that my waiting for some form of apology, some reason for bringing me out on a day such as this so far from the comforts of home, would never come.
‘What did you order for me?’ I asked knowing full well that I may be in for a new adventure that my taste buds would never forgive me for. Her joy of experimenting on my tongue the myriad of possible drinks that she would be willing to try sometime in the future. Should there be something dreadfully wrong with the drink she would know in advance not to order it. How I wish that she would stop to use me in such ways. Still the idea of not knowing when I may like a drink that she would dread kept my hopes up.
The likelihood of such victories remained in the outskirts of my dreams as the chance for them being so miniscule. This was merely due to the fact that she always ordered the same drink no matter where she went. There was never the risk for her tongue to taste the sometimes dreadful, always surprising drinks she would put down my gullet.
As it turned out she had ordered a double shot of espresso to be followed by this little coffee house’s specialty Turkish coffee. Espresso was a drink that I would relish as it reminded me of the classic black and white foreign films with real men smoking and drinking coffee as I was used to. Modern movies with their cute little boys playing the parts of men and not smoking just felt wrong. Yes, I knew the stigma of smoking and had given it up myself for health reasons but to completely eliminate it from movies just felt wrong.
Yet these are the times we lived in where anti-smoking activist were pushing smoking to be illegal even in your own home. These people of course had nothing better to do with their time then to try and run the lives of others. “You know I quit smoking last month right?” I posed a question to her knowing full well that she was expecting it. She after all had planned out our conversation from beginning to end.
The script followed all the cues. Her mind had every one of my actions planned out, even the look of me savoring the delicious espresso was there. Espresso, to talk about the past, the upcoming Turkish coffee meant she was going to ask something serious of me.
There would be a new wrinkle in my life as she would be driving for a favor that I would be less inclined to give. She always did bring me to these points by introducing something new to me, this time being a coffee that I had avoided ever since I saw the Birdcage.
The one with Robin Williams not the one with Michel Serrault. Though the French version is a classic in its own right. Still the line with Robin Williams proclaiming that the coffee was mud in texture and most likely had the same taste turned me off from exploring that avenue. And yet here I found myself enjoying a great espresso with only the lingering doom that was to be the Turkish coffee.
My espresso nearly depleted I heard it. The soft jingle of pockets filled with silverware. The glass on glass jostling around on a tray. Every step bringing with it the horror that was to be my new experience. The dreaded sensation of anticipation drove nails into my spine. Her sweet face turned sickly sweeter as her eyes widened.
‘You’ll love it.’
Her words coming with a slight chuckle only confirming what I knew to be true. She was relishing every ounce of my discomfort. The day would come where I would best her I knew it. The odds were in my favor should I just see an opening in her armor, a slight slip in her words to let me slide in then she would pay. Today was not that day. She was still so far more advanced than I in such games of social behavior.
I took the coffee in hand and sniffed it. The aroma was there, fresh roasted beans and something which hinted as oak or maybe cherry wood. The little extra scent gave me a pause and even brought about thoughts that I would enjoy this new experience. All around me images and sounds dumbfounded me. There was little left to my brain after this new sensation that I truly learned to enjoy.
Bringing the cup to my lips my eyes closed in anger over how much she knew about me. This would be my new drink. Well at least whenever we would come back to this small little shack. Her perfection in every aspect always eluded me. She had placed a plain white envelope in front of me. This was all part of her plan. She had me so caught up in the coffee that I failed to notice the world pass by.
The handcrafting that went into the envelope was amazing to say the least. There were only a few places in the city where you could even find the parchment to make an envelope such as this which I now held in my hand. The modern world had all but killed such craftsmanship and here she was handing me such a treasure. I could easily count on my hands the number of times that I had received such treasures in my life before meeting her. This was not the case anymore. She knew me inside and out and here I had been given another. Oh how I still remember the first of these treasures that she had given. Now that is a memory.
* * *
There was a tome sitting on the coffee table of her mother’s house. When I first started seeing her I was allowed to walk around her home as she prepared herself. Well not every room but still the main guest areas. It was her way to calm me down so we could go out exploring as she would phrase our ventures into the crude vastness of the yuppie jungle. No matter where I started the path was always clear. Finding myself in the so called sitting room by the end of my little walk was the plan. There was nothing I loved better than the privacy it provided.
It was a nice dusty room with plush leather chairs and a single coffee table. It was the perfect place to hide and the first time that I had found myself in this room she had left without me thinking I was already gone. Now here I was in the same room but not the same. This time there was a tome, a book, a novel as it turned out the closer I approached it sitting on the coffee table.
The aged brown leather, bound in what appeared to be gold laced straps called to me. There were worn parts of the cover from repeated use. Someone did in fact love this book enough to read it until the point of breaking yet cared for it well enough to keep the strength in the binding and the cover. The raised lettering was a dream to touch. Each letter of the title sung its story to my hungry fingertips. The authors name gilded in silver to offset the gold glittered in the soft light.
Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe the title dropped from my tongue as dew from a morning Rose pedal. Clearly this was a made to order book yet who would have paid so much for such a thing. I know if I had the money to do such things I would spend it on as many classics as I could.
Seeing me standing over the book with hands clawing to pick it up and read it she paused. With a dismissive tone as someone pawning off a broken screw driver to a child as a toy she stabbed at me, “Oh that old thing is yours by the way.” But I the child knew my treasure well. The endless possibilities of that broken screw driver and what fun it would bring lit my eyes up. Only it was not a screw driver it was something so much more than a broken artifact. It was complete. It was a relic to be kept away from the unworthy.
I stood there disbelief and all… waiting. A look of confusion filled my face. Finally, confusion gave way to a gripping fear, what if, what if she was just joking, any minute now she would ask me to return it to her father’s old book shelf. The ruse would hurt me only so she could mend me later.
There was no ruse, no scam, and no pain for me this day. This was all evident as she let me just sit on the floor holding my treasure my…dare I say it my tome. As I prepared to read it cover to cover she walked out. I would come to find out later that she would go and cancel all the plans of the day. Such was her love for me, such was her understanding of me.
She is perfect.
All the plans I had spent weeks getting in order flew out on the wind. Never would I mind as I became lost in my tome.
Returning to the room she would pull me to her and rest my head on her soft lap as I read the tale in its entirety.
* * *
My mind snapped back to the present. A small tinge of smoke tickled my nose only to be replaced by interwoven cotton and paper. Essence of fat and lotions or was it vanilla, and with a bit of buttermilk. It was so hard for me to catch the ever fleeting scent as I held the envelope to my nose.
Was I receiving a new such treasure. The envelope itself was enough to let me know this meeting was not one to be taken lightly. There must be something more. The ball had to drop, soon… as her smile gave a slight sinister feeling to the whole event. Not to mention the fact that she had yet to let go of her end.
I must have blinked for just as I thought I had seen something it was gone. Was it possible that I had seen a glint of fear in her eyes as the slight furrow in her brow disappeared? Be it only for a second there was something she was keeping from me and here in this backwater coffee shop away from prying eyes she had prepared to tell me.
There was no need for secrets as I had always been forthcoming with her. I kind of figured she had done the same with me. Apparently I had been wrong either in noticing the fear in her eyes or the fact that we led a very open relationship. Yet where is the fun if not to figure out the little secrets we think mean so much only to be utterly meaningless.
Giving into the abyss she relinquished her grip letting me have the envelope completely.
‘I don’t have to open it if you don’t want me to.’
I stated more as an emphatic question than a statement, though she would easily be able to see through my simplistic attempt to allow her to give into her fear. It was something she would not let me do for then I would be in control. This would change the direction or our relationship. It would provide a new dynamic for possibilities that she would not be in the mood to explore.
‘No, I want you to.’
She retorted as she casually looked around knowing full well that the only view our table offered was that of the kitchen.
There was a soft smell coming from the paper. It was not just high quality but apparently there was a time that it had been dipped in rose water by the smell of it with a touch of lavender or sage. Whatever had been used the hint of this aroma added to the smell of the thick viscous liquid that was my Turkish coffee, though not in an unpleasant way.
Which endeavor was I to take on first? My eyes searching for hers unable to decide what to do, I needed guidance. She being as uncooperative as usual avoided every chance I gave of looking at me. For this one and only time I had to choose. The coffee or the letter. Fearing the coffee more than a Dear John letter I proceeded to open the envelope. It was as she expected. She knew that I would dare to go where I thought I knew the road. She had planned this out to the ‘T’ as they say.
Why had I let her know me so well? A bead of sweat returned to my brow. What was I to do now? The coffee had been pushed aside and the letter was the choice. She knew the letter was the choice. There was no backing away.
Events such as opening a letter where but a mere trifle. Such things I would not savor but rush through them. I was the virgin youth rushing through my first experience. Yet there was nothing that I could do to prevent myself from being meticulous with my current event. I was no longer the virgin who had a treasure in front of me. The treasure that was the envelope stuck to my hand.
Frail fingers ran down the lines of the paper. Every sensation of this paper had to be recorded. Every bump, every edge and every feather that made the surface of it had to be committed to memory. There would be no error in preserving the envelope in its entirety. I had the need to add it to my collection of so called nick-knacks which were to me all vestiges of eras gone by.
There was no expense spared in the creation of this envelope as was usual with her. She came from money and was not a person to hold back her spending habits though her plain natural appearance presented a vastly different image. Turning it over in my hand I saw the traditional manner as to sealing such items. The red of the wax on the porcelain white envelope brought about images of such classic beauty.
Dropping the envelope on the table with the wax image holding my gaze I froze. There was a certain familiarity in the image and yet I knew that it should not or rather it could not exist. No, not in our day and time could someone get such a marking without there being a grandiose ceremony marking to the world the arrival of such an event.
Still there it was. The royal mark of the Kings of old. It had to be a forgery but such a forgery was hard to come by.
‘Is, is it real?’
I asked voice trembling in pure agonizing ecstasy. Her dismissive nod did little to assure my suspicions and she knew that. Here I sat now with a conundrum of sorts; should I break the seal and read the letter or should I cut the envelope and destroy my treasure. The one treasure I knew to be true.
Her new game was far more advanced then she had ever set up before. I now had to choose to play or not.
Taking a deep breath I broke the seal starting the game. Pulling out the letter hidden within I began to read.
There I was in the room waiting for soup. It was soup day and she had promised that I would be able to have it in bed.
‘Even with crackers?’ my voice taking on the tone of a young child giving proof to my utter joy. Her simple nod left me in amazement. Soup and crackers in bed how devilishly naughty.
So there I was in the room waiting for soup. I know I already told you this part but you have to understand how great this is. You know how she is about the sheets.
‘They are ten thousand thread count sheets.’ her voice cracked every time she strained to impress in me the idea that these were top of the line sheets.
‘So…’ I knew I was pushing it but I had to. I never really cared about the sheets. The color, the feel, the fact that I could do nothing in these sheets for fear of breaking them. Now I was getting ready to have soup in bed. I don’t know what she was thinking. Maybe the events of the previous day had given her a change of heart about the sheets. Yet news of such a serious nature would have given anyone pause.
Ok, so the soup. She had woken me up rather early in the morning to let me know I would be having soup… in bed. It was so early I failed to realize that it was still night, but the idea of getting soup in bed was enough to prevent me from dozing back off to sleep. I started thinking of the kind of soup I would be getting. She was after all a pretty decent cook when she wanted to be and this particular morning she was in an inglorious happy mood.
It could be that I was getting a nice Gassu-pa, Gassu-pa… cold tomato soup. Never really could say the correct name. Nor should I. I mean come on three bean soup is just that. I liked cold tomato soup. It was always good especially with the soft tiny crackers. Somehow she knew how well they went together and would never deny them to me. ‘It would be an insult to the pallet to leave a made for flavor out of the equation’ her words always rang in my mind on soup day.
I had seen her the other day buying some lemon grass flavored ones and some honey-barley ones. The tomatoes would be boiled for a good ten minutes. She always cooked them straight through, hating the texture of blanching something. Though I must say blanching was something that I never cared for either. The texture was just not something suited for the making of soup.
In an old grinding bowl with stone she would have her herbs pre-ground as she added tomatoes one by one. Slowly she would fuse the tastes together before straining the whole concoction through cheese paper. The end product would have the consistency of juice that is until it started to cool in the fridge.
As you know the last time she made the tomato soup I had snuck in and taken a sample before it was ready and she in a fit of rage poured the whole thing down the sink. I won’t be making that mistake again, oh no believe you me.
There was just something about her volatile nature that drove me to her. Who in their right mind would do such a thing?
Such a waste of a good soup.
Though I can tell you now without hesitation that she was definitely suffering more than I was that day. No soup, no crackers, no time. We ended up eating top-ramen and you know how much she abhors freeze dried foods and instant just add water technology. As for me I love the idea of instant food.
There was nothing better than not having to worry about soup or food of any type. I would gladly trade some of my meals for instant speed. The idea of having to take time away from reading in the beautiful study at times just drove spikes into my head. Yet there was the risk that should I heed the call of instant food I would be called on more excursions for her daily delights. It was such a perfect example of not being able to have my cake and eat it too.
What if, now this is a big what if, she in all her secrecy was making that soup? You know the one I am talking about. It was the soup our friend’s husband had spent the better part of a day telling me about? Oh how I could not get him to shut up about it, no matter how much I tried. But then again it was soup. Pumpkin was it, yeah, something about this small green pumpkin which even though it looks green on the outside was ripe on the inside.
Yet green pumpkin soup had such an unappealing name. Still, as it was explained to me, it had a mild sweetness to it and needed very little. But would she take that risk on these sheets. I mean I know it was a big gamble with tomato soup at least it was cold allowing the sheets to be salvaged should a spill occur but hot pumpkin soup. I doubt she would be taking that risk with my rushed hands and soup.
Three in the morning.
Why had she woken me so early for soup?
The thoughts started to flood in. She was teasing me wasn’t she? One of her little jokes at my expense. I could see her now in the kitchen having a nice cup of tea waiting for me to get antsy enough to sneak down the stairs and peak in on her.
She would take that time to savor the fact that I was not getting soup and would then con me into making breakfast for her.
‘No, I am getting soup in bed. She said so.’
I did not have full confidence in my own words. Watercress soup. I knew what everyone who knew her would think, bland barely a hit of flavor and safe. That would be her best bet for soup. This soup required some nice hearty crackers to truly accent the flavor of the soup. You wanted something with a rawness to the taste buds. Something that would allow the softness of the soup to offset, No… No that is not right.
Gah, what am I trying to tell you. The soup has to sing and be the star of the meal and for a soup as soft as Watercress you want something opposite to allow you to enjoy the softness it brings. But then she would only be letting me have one cracker and that would mean that I would be breaking it over and over again to allow it to last the whole soup. The crumbs would be too much for her and that means no Watercress.
‘Its four,’ I spoke the time feeling frustration creeping in. There were no cooking noises and worst of all there were no flavors crawling upstairs through the crack in the door. At least, at this point I should be smelling the main ingredient in her soup.
And I have never known her not to make tea while she cooks. Why had I not heard the whistle of the kettle? There had to be something, could she really be pulling my leg about the soup. Fear clenched me but anger took control. I would not give her the satisfaction of watching me crawl downstairs begging for soup. It was my soup and she had to give it to me.
I laid down covering my head. I will not lose this battle. She promised soup in bed.
The clock chimed six in the morning. And still I had no soup. Curled up like a ball I hugged the corner of the bed. My face poking out from time to time searching for any wafts of flavors was the only sign that I was indeed a living being.
What was she pulling at? She knew how I got about broken promises or misleading phrases. It is bad enough when she has a small joke at my expense but this was beyond that. She had never dared to prolong my suffering, she herself feared that I might leave. Of course, I could not leave her even if I tried. Still the thought did cross my mind a time or three while I was in this angered state. Yet all I could do was steam under the covers. I had no desire or power to leave such an integral part.
Two minutes after seven in the morning I had reached my breaking point. Given the time she had woken me up I think I had used restraint. Any normal person promised delicious soup would have torn down the stairs hours ago. I was better than them.
The ball of anger in my gut had turned my lower back into a rage induced backache. Slowly I sat with my feet hanging off the side of the bed. What was I to do? I had to wait until this pain was gone. It would be another ten to twenty minutes sitting there with nothing to do but look at the clock.
I must say that every minute that passed was a new level of hell. I was in the process of mourning my relationship as now I truly did feel betrayed. She had left me to suffer and would not abate it until I had submitted to her completely.
What was it that was said to me the other time she made me worry so, “Give her a small window to make amends in the times when she crosses the line. She is worth it and you are better with her than you would ever be without.”
Those words served me so well that I was ready to give up my frustration as long as there was warm food waiting at the bottom of the stairs.
But there was no odor of freshly cooked anything. There weren’t even sounds of any form of preparation. Many thoughts started to fill my head.
There were so many possibilities. Had she gone down and just fallen asleep on the couch? That would not have been the first time that she had fallen asleep on the couch. It was after all our couch and I could not easily count the times she had taken to falling asleep on it.
Maybe there had been a missing ingredient and she was out searching for it in the small garden she kept. It would have taken her a long time as you could not easily tell the quality of an ingredient in the dark. A flashlight would never be enough to reveal the best.
The thoughts flashed in and out as I waited. The ticks of the clock didn’t seem as loud. It was clear that I was getting over my pain. I was getting over the pain anger had put on me. I was even done blaming her for tricking me.
The pain finally subsiding I headed down the stairs. A small creak escaped every odd step. There was no avoiding it. I had to get downstairs. No matter how much I tried to hide my approach the house gave me away. Still… I tried.
Here I was going downstairs and not a sound was to be heard save the odd creak. But houses creak and I was being smart. This was an old house and I just had to space the creaks far enough apart to go unnoticed. The last few stairs worked with me. They supported me as I reached the bottom. They would help me surprise her and I would win and get my soup.
Well it was a thought.
Well sometimes the house was on my side and it was clear here that these last few stairs had come over to my side of the battle. As my weight pressed hard on them they held. Not even the nails holding them down gave a creak or squeal.
I was disconcerted to say the least. There were few times I had thought that I was sneaking up on her only to find her not even there. Those moments terrified me. I froze. I did. I had never been alone in the house and now I was.
How could she have gone…No, I was just getting myself riled up. This was her house and why would she leave. There was no reason for it.
In all the time we had spent together she had never once walked out of her house. Mine, well that is a different story. It did not take much to have her storm out of my apartment only to find her just past the stairs waiting for me. Her actions were for one and only one reason…to force me to run after her.
‘What if she had left for good?’ The thought crept back into my head. She should know better than to do this to me. I was unstable to say the least. And now, well now I was….
I had grown so dependent on her that being without her for more than a day caused me physical pain.
I could not stay in this house. I would not stay in this house alone. It had too much of an eerie feel to it. Well maybe the sitting room was safe but the rest. You could just feel the monsters hiding behind the glowing antiques.
There would be no way for me to see if she had really gone without coming out of my hiding spot. I moved off of the last step. The pain in my gut faded. A few more steps and I would be in the kitchen.
I almost puked. The hit to the gut was so hard. The yellow just staring me in the face.
Looking straight at her post-it note I knew what was to come. No I did not want to do it. Still the words were very clear that I would have to. I must do it if I wanted to eat this day.
She had trapped me again in an adventure and soup was the bait. I knew it was too good to be true but maybe I could find a way out of it. Yes there had to be a way out and all I had to do was think it through.
I took a seat on the last step. Hands on my knees I started to think. You know how I am. There is no problem that cannot be solved with a little thinking. Well I always fooled myself with that. Oh how I knew the clear and factual truth… her games gave me no way out.
If I did not look at the note I would not be in any danger.
It was a plan at least. There would not be any need for me to follow her instructions if I had not received them. Could I out wait her? That was the question.
No I do not want be thought of that way. Even now I can feel the strained, disdainful looks.
If I could walk around it and into the kitchen, grab a snack and walk back upstairs or into my den I would be safe for the day. Then she would know that I am in control of myself and these outings, excursions, adventures of hers. They would have to stop unless she would be willing to plan them with me.
I have been trying to get her to go to the space museum for these past few years. NASA and all their cool stuff. I would love for once to be allowed to enjoy a day there.
But that is not her style. I blame the gods mostly for putting that fire inside her, the fire that just drives her to be like this. They should have known better than to do it, but still they did it.
Then they went ahead and put her on track to be with me. Anyone who would read this would most likely be shaking their head at my words. It is clear or it should be that I am madly, utterly in love with this woman. It may even be said that I will only come out stronger in the end but then again I haven’t before. Don’t think I haven’t noticed here and there when fate has been wrong. It could be wrong this time.
What if it’s wrong now and this whole course of events is just damaging the two of us. What good will that do for the group in the end. Yet, my argument is not with fate or the gods, but with myself, isn’t it?
Looking up I saw what I dreaded. That dam note and today’s adventure had not moved. Adventure, yeah curse without end. Every time she did this I came back sore, burned, rashes covering my O’ so delicate skin, aching, torn apart and rebuilt just not up to spec. What did she need from tearing me down just to put me back together with missing parts?
Staring at it won’t change it, neither am I able to will it away. Oh, how I wished for someone to be there to tell me what should I have done in such a situation?
But I was alone. So any advice that I could now get or any time after the event would be after the fact and had no power over my choice. I had to do what I did. People after the fact at least have the time to think it through before answering and as always it would be brilliant, well-thought-out and may even be the perfect way to solve such complications.
I on the other hand did not have such luxuries and had to make a choice. Still that choice, the one I was fretting was already made. I knew it as much as she did and still does. The choice was made when she put that devil of yellow sheet at eye level. Had she put it anywhere else I would have walked by not taking notice and this would have been a day of brooding followed by reading and off to bed.
I could sustain myself with the snacks I have hidden away in my den should the need arrive… there was a left over cheesecake in the fridge as well. I would be ok until her return. And oh she would have returned, head hung low.
She would have rushed into my arms, kissing me and begging my forgiveness. Two things that have yet to come to pass. The day would come. Well it should come… but I don’t really mind. It could come or not, I was so far into a good point of my life that I didn’t really mind. Still…
I looked up, what else was there to do. With no advice and of course her trap had already been sprung. I stood up and stared, that little tease, that calling card of mischief straight in the face.
Clear and loud my voice resounded through the house. I wanted my voice to be heard throughout the house. Then I pulled the post-it off its place and opened it. The adventure had begun and if I wanted soup in bed I would have to play the game.