Sunday, June 27, 2010

eyes like fishing line and lips like baited hooks.

"I thought you hated lasagna," you say, stuffing your mouth with the last half of a Ding Dong that's serving as your afternoon snack. She examines the box of the whole grain pasta sheets she bought earlier this afternoon. A plastic bag, filled with produce and things that are uncharacteristically green crinkles like fall leaves as she sifts through it. "And vegetables. Don't you hate vegetables?"

"No, I hate fruit," she says.

"Who hates fruit?"

"Me." She smiles and kisses the lingering fleck of cream from the corner of your mouth. "And you could use some vegetables. What have you even had to eat today besides that?"

"Some Sour Patch Kids and and Diet Coke."

"You're gonna get diabetes as a twenty-sixth-birthday present."

"But it was diet." You pull out a cutting board from underneath the sink and get to slicing the zucchini she spirals across the kitchen.

And you chop chop chop. You chop zucchini into medallions and you dice tomatoes into pseudocubes and you flay carrots like a Cossack horse soldier. You're a tempo-tapping, knife-edge warrior, fighting solely for the culinary satisfaction of--

"What are you whispering?" she asks. Her inquisition spares the life of the clove of garlic cowering beneath your cleaver.

"What?"

"You were whispering something about...I couldn't hear, actually. Sounded aggressive, though."

"Just trying to make slicing vegetables as masculine as possible." You feel your cheeks flush. "That probably sounded creepy, me whispering while I'm thwacking this produce. I couldn't sleep last night, so I watched Conan the Barbarian. Guess it got me going."

"No, not creepy," she says, scraping off the bits and pieces from your cutting board into a large mixing bowl. "Kinda sweet, I guess, you playing make-believe while we make dinner."

"And why the vegetable lasagna, if I can ask?" You take a rogue sip from the fresh lemonade that accompanied the carrots. "That's not very...you."

"I'm running a half-marathon next week."

This comes as a surprise.

"Really? Why?" You find your question more fearful than you had hoped to sound, like a gullible child asking an older sibling about monsters under the bed.

"Just because." She tosses a fleck of radish between two rows of grinning teeth. "My mom did one a few months ago, and I can't let her show me up."

"Wow," you say, now equal parts grateful and ashamed that you're so glad her mother still--presumably--has a runner's figure. You mentally add thirty years to the half-marathon-running, vegetable-lasagna-making enigma standing before you with onion-teared eyes and red pepper lips and you decide that it would take more than a few crow's feet or short-cropped Mom Hair for you to stop wanting to make vegetable lasagna or wait on the sidelines of a half-marathon with a Dixie cup of Gatorade for your favorite participant. And it's not like she's the one eating Ding Dongs.

"I don't think I could do a half-marathon." You yawn just thinking about it. "How can you do it?"

"I train. Hence the high carbs and healthy fillings."

"Just, like, running? For, what, extended distances?" You snap a carrot between your teeth like a twig. "How do you do it?"

"Well, lately," she says, her mouth clearly filling up with words she's deciding whether or not to say, "I just sorta pretend that I'm running to you."

You smile, kiss her forehead, and your right hand holds her left as you work together to spread the vegetables between layers of soaked noodle.

"I wish I could think of nice things like that to say to you," you say. "I just feel like everything I say is stupid and I don't want to weird you out."

"What would you have to say that would weird me out?"

"Nothing." Pause. "Not right now, anyway." Double pause. "Maybe I'll start small and tell you that I'm really glad I get to see you so much."

She squeezes your hand and cheshire grins, and you wonder how many calories you'd burn running her to Europe.

You've heard good things about Madrid lately.

2 comments:

Kels H. said...

Um, an Impressionist exhibit from the Musée de Orsay in Paris is currently in San Francisco (cause really, I need *another* reason to go to SF), but it will be moving to Madrid after the first of September. So. I suggest you go then.

Azúcar said...

Because Madrid is amazing. Apropos of very little.