Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Making Lunches

My reflection in the dark window told me that my hair stood up on one side. Some people call it bed-head. I call it hair-fuck. Why do I have to be that way with words? Why can't I think like normal people do?

Mike whistled cheerfully as he chopped vegetables in his khaki dress pants and a plaid shirt. I still wore pajamas and grumbled as I stared into the fridge, hoping for something new to appear. His song was getting into my head already.

I leaned past him to put cream of mushroom soup in the microwave. I made it yesterday. Homemade. Would plastic leech into the soup and poison Nick as I heated it in the microwave? Really, I'm giving him cream of plastic soup with mushrooms. He might be better off with Campbell's Cream of Mushroom since that was the flavor I'd aimed for anyway. Why did I always end up recreating Campbell's soup flavors when I made homemade?

I still couldn't fully open my eyes. They were gummy and my throat was sore as if I'd been snoring. I snore. So sue me. Lots of women do, but for some reason, it's like farting - we're supposed to pretend we don't, despite the evidence.

I popped the door of the microwave and tapped the side of the soup container with one finger. I'd been burned before. Still tepid. I sloshed it back in and set the timer for a few more minutes then stared into space as I waited for it to heat. Damned dinging. It was like an alarm. Why don't they make microwaves silent?

Mike blended a yogurt smoothie with strawberries and banana, still whistling his tune. What was it? Opera? He was whistling opera?

I fumbled with mustard. Vinegar came out first and splattered over everything but the sandwich I was trying to assemble for Nick. I smeared it around on the counter with a dry paper towel.

I dusted off the thermos as Mike packed his tidy lunch into his white canvas bag. How does that thing stay so white?

Soup coming from the wide plastic container spilled out over both sides of the thermos as I poured still tepid soup into it.

"You missed a spot," Mike said, still cheerfully. "Don't they make wide-mouthed funnels that help with that sort of thing. You should put that on your Christmas list. It would make a great stocking stuffer."

"Mustard enhances the flavor of the soup," I mumbled. I threw out another dry paper towel filled with mushrooms and tried to pick up chunks of mushroom with my kitchen sponge. It had gone rancid and my hands would smell like that even after I used soap and water on them.

"What?" he said and then went on whistling. He leaned over me, the kitchen dance, and rinsed the sponge after I put it behind the sink, still goobered with soup and mustard I had smeared on the counter. He went on whistling as he dried his hands. Was he helping me or trying to tell me something?

And what was that stupid song? Why is it legal to whistle opera at 6:24 in the morning? He picked up his packed lunch bag and his smoothie.

"Bye hon," he said. He leaned over to kiss me and paused for a long hug. "Have a nice day, okay?" Words hung in my throat, not quite coherent.

"Bye!" I yelled after him as he walked down the stairs. I heard the front door click open. "Ride of the Valkyries!" I shouted.

"What was that, sweetie?" He paused and yelled up the stairs.

"Ride of the Valkyries!"

"Never heard of it!" he cheered and he snapped the door shut behind him.

"Ride of the Valkyries," I whispered to thin air.

Thank you for listening, jb

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