Category Archives: short stories or scenes

The Carrier.

CHAPTER 46.

The fresh zucchini had endured that suctioned sealer long enough. Removing both small tubes from the fridge shelf, she noted that each had become a bit moist and rubberized, more like the consistency of a full water balloon. Yet the touch to the tongue revealing no revolting after taste, she peeled, sliced lengthwise, lay each “finger” in a drizzle of olive oil, and set the pan about slow frying.

As the oil peppered its flesh, she added a liberal dress of herbs and spices. Oregano leaf. Basil. Smoked Paprika. Then, Onion powder and, finally, Celery Seed. Inhaling the chemistry, satisfied she covered the pan, and reduced the heat to just enough for smolder; then, removing a palm sized chunk of Goat Cheese from its bin, she scooped out a couple generous swaths. This would coat the bottom of the dish, she decided, to melt later.

Just in case the squash might be a tad overripe she tossed a few drops of apple cider vinegar in the mix, to kill any aggressive pestilence. There were dishes in the sink and, motivation to wash them always at the mercy of aversion, she rationalized a bit of extra time for frying and soaped up around a third of these, letting the saucepan sizzle for about four more minutes. Zucchini was usually baked, anyway; extra time in the pan wouldn’t kill anything except the part she wouldn’t want disturbing her delicate gut flora.

Minutes later, ladling the now limpid legs onto her trusty Corningware plate with its molded handle, she took a flat knife and spread the Goat cheese up and over and around the entire mixture of zucchini and herbs, watching it melt and meld into the meal.

Eating this little dinner, she smiled. It was so good. Zucchini was, after all, naturally tasteless – the perfect vehicle for the reason she cooked like this in the first place. Really, cuisine was about flavor, nutrients and a texture carrier. Who wanted to melt cheese on a plate, then douse it with leaves of plant? Spreading everything that had both pungence and palatability across one generic summer squash meant that she could taste the divine yet give her teeth a reason to crunch.

She still had her teeth, all of them but one, in fact, and being able to chew voraciously meant that she was still quite alive enough to live in her own house and use a fork. Good enough reason for one bland vegetable to carry everything else worth loving, while she still had breath.

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© Ruth Ann Scanzillo 4/10/21. All rights those of the author, whose story it is and whose name appears above this line. Sharing by blog link, exclusively; no copying, in whole or part including translation, permitted. Thanks for being the honorable person.

littlebarefeetblog.com

The Character.

 

CHAPTER 34.

 

Sitting, facing the mirror, she watched him in its reflection.

Jet black, the short spike receded his hairline like a halo – he, also short, but broad of shoulder like her grandfather and with the same, thick hands, a complete opposite of the tall, long boned, pony-tailed basso who had proposed to her earlier that winter. His upper lip, soft and reaching, moved asymmetrically across wide, hidden teeth as he chattered away in low, private tones, multi-tasking easily through the cut, the set, the perm application, twinkling eyes darting from the window to the clock and back into the mirror. Unlike most hairdressers, he worked alone, and asked no questions.

She sat and he proceeded, both parlaying whatever the other disclosed into the predicted personalizations of their shared generation. These were the waning days of brass and glass and Cala lilies, of disco dreams and hair bigger than the faces framed by it, when nobody could hear anybody and posture was the performance of the day.

Pulling the processing cap over her rolled up head, he stepped back, disappearing from the mirror.

She’d forgotten all about having asked if there were a restroom in the salon. Rather, turning in the chair she was quietly startled to see him, standing at the back of the room by a small, opened door. Bending in response to her gaze and presenting a courtly bow, he gestured toward the opening as if to offer her invitation.

Thirty years passed.

During the interim, he’d made a few, vivid reappearances. A handful of vignettes, crystallizing over time, first at the credit union with a pixied platinum blonde, looking remote and sad and somehow adorable, the two of them waiting to meet a loan officer neither speaking nor meeting each other’s glance. She was sure he saw her and the Mona Lisa smile likely marking her recognition, but he’d registered none. His mouth had slowed to still, his eyes had softened, and he had stopped talking.

Even now, thirty years apart and ten months in, she would not be able to say what drew her. Perhaps the gesture by the door, and its thousand and one nights of wonder never actualized; perhaps their two ships, having long passed in the night, each sounding its mourning horn like the mating call of the post-menopausal. His hair grey, his eyes tired and their twinkle, refusing the camera, now only alight in the fleeting glance at another woman he, and her characterization of him, had at last collided in the space between reality and imagination. Only during the occasional nights reflecting alone would she find it increasingly hard to choose between them.

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© 1/24/18   Ruth Ann Scanzillo         All rights those of the author, whose story it is and whose name appears above this line. Thank you for staying in your own corner.

littlebarefeetblog.com