It smells delicious. The sauce is red and meaty, studded with olives like jewels in a coal mine. The spaghetti is perfectly al dente; not too chewy and not falling apart either. The zucchini basks in the white ceramic bowl, cut carefully into perfect ¼” slices. Coated in butter and bits of garlic, the smell is mouthwatering as is the mere sight of the delicate verdant slices. A loaf of garlic bread glistens with golden butter, the brown crust crisped perfectly, the top toasted to perfection. Steam rises softly from the center, bringing a tempting scent to my nostrils. As if all that is not enough, half a baked potato perches on the edge of each of our plates, garnished with the ideal amounts of shredded cheese, savory bacon bits, and a perfect cloud of sour cream. And butter. Lots and lots of butter; infinite rivulets like tears winding down a cheek. But I can’t concentrate on my food right now, because you’re staring at me. You’re staring at me as if you’re seeing me for the first time, and you’re not quite sure of what you see. Like you’re not quite sure that what you see is what you want. You say my name—tentatively, ending in an ellipse. I look down at my plate and shovel something into my mouth, vowing to stare down at my dinner until the baked potato meets my eyes.
October 3, 2011