5.25.2015 Journal Prompt

Image from Life is Sweet
Image from Life is Sweet

May 25, 2015: In the kitchen.

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2 thoughts on “5.25.2015 Journal Prompt

  1. He’s a great lardy lump of a man and there’s plenty as say I could do a lot better and that I should set my sights elsewhere, set ‘em higher. They say I’m pretty enough and there’s plenty of men that’d look my way if I gave ‘em cause to. And Sal says I’ve got a figure to die for and she says men like that – and she says boys there are who like it, too, which is Sal talking dirty. They mean well with what they say, but that ain’t really how it works, see.

    I watch him sometimes, this great brick wall of a man, and I can’t breathe, you know. And it’s like all my words has been stolen from me and I stammer and spit and make myself foolish in front of him. His name’s Otto and he don’t hardly look at me, not though we work in the same place, a small restaurant kitchen that ain’t got room enough to swing a cat in or even a kitten.

    He’s a baggy sort of a man. Like he’s got no real shape, everything overflowing like bread dough on its second rise and it’s been left too long near the heat. And he makes a whistling sound when he breathes, and he smells of cooked chicken and onions. And I carry him home with me at the end of the shift and I undress him, slow as syrup slipping from a spoon, and I take him to my bed, and we just lie there, this imaginary Otto curled into me, and holding me safe from all hurt.

    The kitchen is so small we touch sometimes. It can’t be helped – or it can be, if you know what’s what. I position myself by the table in the centre of the room, chopping meat or vegetables, and positioned like that he has to squeeze past me to get to the fridge and I know precisely when he will need to reach for butter or cream or milk. Otto, he don’t say a word, just edges past me, the bulk of his body pressing a little against mine. And just for a moment we could be lovers. I close my eyes and my legs weaken and I wonder if I fell would he catch me.

    Otto wraps thick cuts of beef or generous slabs of fish in greaseproof paper and ties them up with string and he leaves ‘em for me to take home at the end of the day. They are like small presents. I say him thank you, and I want to kiss him then, and tell him how I feel. He shrugs and says the food would only go to waste otherwise, so thank you is all I say to him. Once, I said ‘thank you, Otto,’ his name like a smooth round stone in my mouth, like a pebble that has been turned over and over in a long river and when it reaches the sea it is perfect. He looked at me funny and he shook his head and I could not measure what was in his thinking.

    And so I take Otto home with me, only in my head, and he is different then and something the same, too, and we sleep in the one bed, and there is not room to swing a cat there neither, so we sleep folded into the one person. And they say I should look elsewhere and that I could do better, much better, and I tell ‘em that it is not how it works, and by ‘it’ I mean love.

  2. There’s things I could say to her and that I do say to her under my breath. I could tell her she’s pretty as peaches and how I like the smell of her hair and I like the way she smiles and it makes me almost light on my feet when I catch her smiling that way. I could tell her all of this and more, a hundred times more, ‘cept looking at her and the cat’s got my tongue.

    Her name’s Lucie and she spells it like the French do and like that I knew she was something different and something special right from the start. She’s small and thin as a deer and she don’t hardly say a word to me, ‘less it’s to thank me for the parcel of meat or fish that I let her take home at the end of her shift. It’s like we are in two different places even when we’re in the one room: the kitchen, which it ain’t got the space god gave snails in their shells. I can hear her every breath, the room is so small, and if she moves here or moves there, then I just know.

    Once, she said ‘Thank you, Otto,’ and my name in her mouth made me feel funny inside. It came out easy, like she said it every day, and I almost asked her to say it again, ‘cept I was sick at the thought she’d say no.

    Sometimes she’s standing with her back to me and she’s chopping vegetables, or parsley or sage, and I need milk or butter from the fridge. I have to pass her then and like I said there ain’t any god given room, so I slide myself against her, saying I am sorry under my breath, saying cat’s-got-my-tongue sorry. And the thing is, I ain’t sorry one little bit. Fact is, it’s the sweetest part of my day, and I can feel the warmth of her leeching through her clothes and I am even a little hard sometimes, cock-hard, and I curse myself after for the foulness of my thoughts when Lucie is pretty as an angel and pure as an angel, too.

    And at the end of her shift, when the kitchen is near as clean as a new pin and Lucie takes off her white hood and she mops her brow with the back of her hand, well I want to offer her a glass of something, just so she’ll not go away so quickly. Red wine, maybe, staining her lips and her tongue. Or white wine, sharp as gooseberries so she’ll wince and suck in air and her lips like the shape of a kiss then. But truth is I can’t ever find the words. I wrap up some beef or some fish, tying it up pretty with string so it is like a gift of some sort, and I make a show of presenting her with it. And she says such a small ‘thank you’ and I wait, wanting there to be an ‘Otto’ after it.

    Then she goes and I find the words then, all the mouse-words that the cat’s been hoarding. And I walk around the kitchen, touching the things Lucie touched, my fingers lingering, so as I can imagine that Lucie is touching me or I am touching Lucie. And I say her name, clear as a bell when she’s not there, and I tell her she’s pretty as peaches and that I don’t know what my day would be without her in it. And I slide past her on my way to the fridge, imagine I do, and I close my eyes and smell her hair and her skin, and I tell her I love her, and am hard again, feel my cock brushing past her soft behind, and I take myself out and pull myself to coming and coming breathless quick; and all the while I am thinking of Lucie and wishing she would step back into the kitchen for something she has forgot, and she’d catch me – not with my cock out, but saying her name over and over and saying how pretty she is and how I love her more and more each day.

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