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Dinner For One/ Goodbye/

 

Elizabeth loved to cook. After long days of battling in courtrooms, she loved her gourmet kitchen, wrapping herself in a giant chef’s apron and creating something delicious. Loving a challenge, she would choose an unusual ingredient and make a full meal with that ingredient as the star. This evening she had chosen wild mushrooms.

 

Late as always, she began to pull ingredients out of the cupboard, piling them on the butcher block island. Pasta, olive oil, and crushed black pepper spilled across the wood. From the fridge she grabbed an onion, fresh sage, garlic, cream and parmesan cheese. As she reviewed her mental checklist, she noticed an important ommission. Where was her bag of dried wild mushrooms? She checked all her cupboards and fridge but the bag was gone. Glancing out her window to the street below, she noticed the gourmet market across the street was open. She grabbed her wallet and ran out the door.

 

Entering the market at a run, she headed immediately for the dried fruit and vegetable section. She spotted a single bag of dried mushrooms, hanging from its peg. Suddenly, a man appeared around the corner and leaning over, grabbed the bag of mushrooms and walked quickly towards the cash desk. “Um..stop….” she cried. “I really need those mushrooms…..” her voice trailed off in surprise. The man had turned and all she could do was gaze at his handsome face. He began to walk back towards her, mushrooms clasped firmly in hand. “These?” he asked.

She felt her cheeks color. She had to make a case for those mushrooms or her dinner plans would be ruined. She quickly settled on the most logic approach. “We could split them- I will buy them and we can divide the bag equally- would that work?” She hoped her desperation wasn’t showing. He gazed at her and slowly nodded his head.

 

Waiting at the cash desk, she inhaled the wonderful scent of her mystery companion. He smelled of lavender, the ocean, a rich and mysterious spice and sunshine- she leaned in closer as they reached the cashier. Purchase paid for, they left the market and stood awkwardly outside the front door. “I live there” she nodded to her building with her head. “Would you like to come up while I split this bag in two?”

His smile was open and warm and he followed up her up to her apartment. She felt slightly crazed….she was not behaving in a safe and logical fashion. She did not want to be a headline in tomorrow’s paper. She opened the front door of her apartment.

His eyes swept over the ingredients piled on the centre island in her kitchen. “Fettucine ai fungh?” His Italian accented English made her light headed. “It was my mother’s favorite. Shall we cook and dine together?”

She felt herself swept into the darkness of his eyes, handed him an apron and spoke with all the joy in her heart,” Dinner for two?”

 

Assignment 2- 300 words

Goodbye

She sneezed as she checked the front door. “Why was he away at a conference tonight? I am so miserable….” Still sneezing, she walked into the darkened living room, gave her snoring old dog his good night pat, grabbed her steaming mug of cold medicine and headed upstairs to bed. Stopping before each of her children’s slightly open doors, she peeked in and checked they were sleeping soundly. Chores done, she crawled into bed, finished the last sip of medicine and exhausted, shut out her light. 

“I’m sorry”. She fought her way up from sleep to hear two words whispered and a small circular object pressed into her palm.  She felt her husband’s familiar weight settle on her side of the bed and smelt the fumes of alcohol rise off him like a fog. “I’m so sorry.” She struggled to come completely awake but her cold addled brain refused- no danger, family, safe…go back to sleep.

He began to cry. “It wasn’t supposed to last- just a quick fling with a cute girl. You understand- it was just one of those things. But now…” He paused. “There is a baby on the way and it’s not so simple. She needs me and you are so strong. You and the kids will be OK. I know you will manage; I can’t keep our ring. I have to go…it needs to be now…” His voice trailed off and the sobs increased.

Now she was confused and frightened. She leaned over to turn on the light and said,” I thought you weren’t back until tomorrow….”  As light hit the room, she watched her neighbor’s drunken, tear soaked husband slide to the floor. “Thank God, wrong house! I thought I locked the front door,” she whispered in relief.

 

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