Leftovers

The floor stays dry but the margarine tub fills to the brim. I empty it three times over the next 24 hours knowing I will eventually have to resolve the issue. Trial-and-error or outsourcing? Neither comes for free.
 
Down the hall, Bug sings and chatters in the bathtub as I cobble together dinner. In the vegetable drawer, I discover the broken remains of my inaugural promise to the fridge. A half-full bag of slimy green beans. A bouquet of yellowing parsley. I marvel at the improbable fact of their decay. If my long-ago ancestors claimed place with crops, what to make of rot? Decomposition of the unused scrap has to be an indicator of both affluence and folly. Maybe it is also a sign of roots. When food turns bad in the larder, you’re not just visiting anymore.
 
I toss the sludge and pull out eggs and cheese. As I reach for a cutting board, I notice three bananas going brown in the basket. A fruit fly alights. Hello, excess. It is time to prepare a meal and now this plot twist? I disdain waste yet mashed bananas aren’t in my dinner repertoire. I start mentally scanning the video of my next 24-hours, watching myself prep lunches and check breakfast inventory. Office wardrobe. Commute. How in the world will fruit pancakes fit into all this? You can’t squeeze batter from a stone.
 
Then I pause. Set down the knife. Consider.
 
This granite countertop. This half-bare cupboard. My kid dive-bombing his plastic killer whale in the bath and making a giant mess.
 
This, my house. My kitchen, my parenting, my menu, my rules.
 
My way, here on out.
 
I pull out the mixing bowls, the whole wheat flour, the jar of sugar. No measuring cups. I wing it with a coffee mug. No canola oil. Olive will do. No milk. Orange juice, then. In goes the banana mush. I add twice as much cinnamon as any reasonable person would because I know Bug loves it. Into the muffin tin. Into the oven.
 
While the timer ticks down, spinach succumbs to a too-big knife. This was all that was left from a Wusthof-Trident set that split up when the marriage did. Eggs crack open into a cereal bowl. I slit a softening peach across its seam, free the stone, and shave buttery jewels from its flesh. Bug pads in, damp and pink. I ask him to set the table. He does this now, just three weeks in, with neither argument nor a need for direction. On our first night together here, he chose which seat was mine and which his. This hasn’t varied since.
 
We sit in the deep-breath echo of our dining room eating steamed broccoli with our fingers. Bug uses a pepper grinder to carpet his eggs and vegetables. He folds back the towel covering a warm bowl and closes his eyes.
 
“Mmm,” he says, breathing in the sweet steam. “Muffins? For dinner?”
 
“Yep,” I smile. “Muffins for dinner. “
 
“Can we make more in the morning? With blueberries?”
 
“Sure thing,” I say.
 
I’ve kept my second promise and fed the fridge fresh berries. She’s held up her end of the deal, at least for today.
 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s