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Food Spectrum of the Rainbow Family

Story by Melissa Bell (Read author interview) December 15, 2007

A great, fat wine. Steak bloody. Desire and body. Brain doesn’t even bother trying to get a word in edgewise. No Brain necessary tonight. Brain not invited. This is an evening of engorged muscles and pumping organs. Scarlet splashes on the tablecloth and cherries on fire for dessert. Sorry, Brain, you and your matter of reasonable grey just don’t fit the dress code; you might as well go wait in the car.

Autumn and a bowl of clementines. He makes crèpes suzette right there in the bedroom and pours you a snifter of Grand Marnier at 8:30 a.m. He gets powdered sugar all over the dark sheets, and insists on feeding you with a spoon. You feel silly letting him do this, but only just a little. He uses his thumb to smooth a drop of syrup from your lower lip. You lick it off. He sucks his thumb.

Lemons and egg yolks and butter. A dash of Dijon. See how things come together so naturally and elegantly when you give things meaning, when you give them purpose, and when you learn how to do them properly? There is magic here. Who had told you this would be difficult? It’s just slightly more work than an omelette, and even though that would have been enough for many, it would not have been enough for right now. What you’re doing is making it special. What you’re doing is chemistry. Keep things flowing and consistent; hesitancy could mean having to start all over again.

Pea shoots and bright leaves of lettuce growing in a willow basket on the front porch – a basket that he came so close to throwing out when he was cleaning the garage. You had argued. You had begged. He smoked his first cigarette in two and half years and you crumpled up a twenty and threw it at his back as he walked down the driveway. You head into town to the only place that is still open. You take your order of spinach paneer and naan and eat it all by yourself in the parking lot.

The pool. The kids’ popsicles. Her bikini. His eyes. Your collection of Bombay Sapphire bottles lined up in the kitchen window.

Crushed blackberries heaped on fresh biscuits. Dusk in the backyard and shooting stars. Junebugs diving clumsily into his daughter’s hair, their thorny legs tangling in the fine blonde strands, and she is screeching and smashing and dancing around like a madman. June’s over for Christ’s sake! her mother yells to nobody and for no real reason, and you have to smile because it’s not your problem.

Grape Kool-Aid splash on the cream leather sofa. The small bruise just below the wristbone. The small bruise just above the eyebrow. She hasn’t said a word all day. You give her a small bag of ube-filled crackers you bought at the market. “What the hell is ube?” she asks. “Just eat them,” you say. “Just eat the damn things.”

About the Author

Melissa is probably knitting something, cleaning something or making something delicious as you read this. She blogs for the Canadian Writers Collective and tasteTO.com.

This story appeared in Issue Nineteen of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Nineteen

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