Written by Grace Samson
At the time the phone rang she had already washed her hands of the blood. The red meat trickled into the sink. It wasn’t the first time this had happened to her, nor would it be the last.
All it did really was disrupt what she actually wanted it to be. She actually wanted it to be a lot of things. She wanted it to be cunning. She wanted it to be careless and charming. She mostly wanted fully and completely to give in to it and not look back.
At this point in the game so many wires were set against her. So much that was taken and afraid. Her brain hurt at racking back and forth the misery and pain of every new situation she encountered. She made her voice sound more crackly when she picked up the phone to call him so she would match his type.
All the hype, all the drama. She just couldn’t do it when he decided to walk in the room only six seconds after she washed and dried the meat, getting rid of the blood and putting it in the oven. Her over inflated ego wandering, wondering about town asking herself to try at least once to put herself in the pursuit of her passions of what she wanted as something more.
It was hard to do, a lot harder than she ever imagined. Her times and space being interrupted by that small light on her phone, her livelihood connected to this hour, the hour when he would walk in the door and she would make the meat.
What had she done previous to this? All she had done seemed to evaporate in the seething, sneaky suspicion that something was not quite right with the meat. Something was off, a little bit peculiar.
The butcher had prepared it, wrapped it, set it aside. And she had abided with her normal social graces, smiling and laughing. Noticing the strange way his teeth had overlapping brown specks on them in lines and valleys. It meant nothing except that he had lived a long time and wondered at the spectacle of nature’s vices: cigarettes, smog, the occasional tooth dying food and forgetfulness. This was a man who lived for his own life, lived differently and amongst those he trusted the most, himself. Instead of wafting around clear smiles, him carefully grinning at all who could account for the fact that he had indeed decided to floss that morning, this man was the man, who didn’t care, he was the man who procured her meat. She trusted this man.
But why still did she feel the need to question the meat, untie it, dissect and anatomize the pieces. Her own, very own experience with DaVinci experiments. Why then? Why had she accustomed the blood and the sweat and the slipping of the pieces into the huge gurgling sink. The disposal running extra slow that day and more to come.
It was because of the one black spot she saw. The curling dark spot. Not noticeable at first but directly to the side of the piece of meat, on the corner, the crevice… she saw it. Like a dark wanting eye it started back at her. The only piece of the meat that questioned her glasnost. There was a fear of finishing the meat. Starting was easy for her, she got excited, giddy, but of finishing? What would it be? Hard or stretch, the sinews breaking toward something desirable or to their detriment broken and rainless. Dry, untouched.
But at that time she had not much to think about, for his boots had already touched the well scraped up linoleum in the kitchen. Not his not hers but “the” kitchen. He was in charge of bringing the potato salad.
The meat bubbled and broiled. She felt a tightness at the back of her neck, she had come here many times before, to this point where her boyish wonder had felt so on moor, set, directed and approbated. But now, with the dinging, with the chance at any moment that her red alarm would go off, she didn’t quite know how to stand. Any moment any moment, she could receive a text and it would all be over, the meat would burn, she would fall down, she didn’t much like her heels anyway, they drove her to madness, the chafing at the side of her toe. One toe was bigger than the other, she had always been self-conscious of.
“Don’t think,” she said over and over to the chicken as it crackled away, “Don’t think.”
Then, she got a text, the ding interrupted her train of thought and she had to check to see if her timer had gone missing. Three in a row, he was late. It was raining. He just got a cab. He left the salad on the table earlier and went out to get some rolls. This was her chance, she only had enough time to be here by herself with only herself until he would unlock the door and pass through.
There it came again, the crackling, the sizzle, all was only hanging by a thread. A snap and a crackle, one raw piece.
At the time of this moment, she didn’t want anything else but for the chicken to keep cooking, she didn’t want it to be done. She looked at the redness of the chicken, the body the clout and she knew it was never going to be forever, it was temporary it all was temporary . She thought, “Why can’t I have the raw meat, why can’t I devour it all at once,” it would make her sick, somethings were left inside parameters for a reason and she couldn’t do anything but hope that her oven was set correctly to the temperature it read and her phone wouldn’t disrupt the timer. How she longed for a time where she could know how to cook the meat with an analog clock and keep her mind together. knowing he was coming but not exactly, his trip to the store, the rain, the cab. She wanted to stumble a bit on her shoes and not know they would always chafe her right toe.
When he came in he dropped his umbrella in the door jar and rain and mud came off his shoes. She couldn’t take it anymore, the shoes were too much, she threw them by the stove and walked over to the hallway to grab the remaining ingredients for the dinner.
At that moment, at the time, she let go and walked out of the kitchen. The chicken snapped, the piece that was black sizzled with insightfulness and she knew what enthralling chicken ideas were of a passing time in comparison to the obligatory wherewithal of the overall discretion of the present moment. She had decided to withdraw from and find resignation in the arms of the man who brought her the twenty-five dollar’s worth of potato salad and muddy shoes.
The chicken burned that night, the black spot accompanied by many others on the oven dish. And it was cooled only by the cheap potato salad and the smell of the rain.
Grace Samson - is a writer in Silverlake, she is really bad at picking favorites but if she had to she would be honest and say she loves hanging in her comfy bed and eating jalapeno chips or vigorously dancing to 80’s pop hits that may be very cheesy and out of date. A sucker for sunsets, good food, and is trying to be a human.