So much of my past is hiding beneath my bed in boxes of letters and photographs, but more of it is in my cupboards. I used to make espresso every morning. My coffee pot had a timer, so I’d awake to the smell of brewing and the gurgling sounds of morning. I miss that, the home I made. It’s sad that I stopped timing things, stopped making a home just because I didn’t share mine anymore. I have bamboo steamers from when I made crystal shrimp and seafood shu mai. The mandolin from when I made my own potato chips, as garnish with the braised monkfish I served over a yin yang smear of celery root and buttered carrot puree, a pool of red wine reduction is atop a shelf now, abandoned. I miss reducing things for hours, things, not conversations and body language, but actual things. Port and burgundy wine simmered in a stockpot with granny smith apples, celery, chicken stock and carrots. I miss slow cooking, on Sundays, a Sunday sauce with a pork shank to flavor the red sauce I’d spoon over aldente noodles. I miss the comfort of that life, when I had a dining room table and linen napkins. Now I have a hint of a kitchen and a living room without even a proper coffee table. I miss putting food on a table. I miss having a table.
I hate how much I spend in rent, and it still can’t afford me room for a dining room table AND a sofa. I hate how so much of my life has become OR’s, or’s I don’t want to have to make. I understand be single OR have a relationship. I understand you can’t have it all, but I never knew wanting a living and dining room would fall into my OR category. I can’t live like this anymore. With things stored away, not being enjoyed.
I have not had a hard life. I am grateful for the privileges I have, for the opportunities, for the pots and knives and espresso machine. For America and my education, for having parents who guided me in the right direction. I’m grateful, believe it or not, for my self-esteem, for having enough not to be involved with a married man, who only wants me because I’m not HER. He wants me only because of what I’m not, not for who I’d be. I’m grateful I never fell that low to ever be involved with someone married. Still, I want to live more gratefully, slowly, with tea and crumpets, lemon curd and Sarabeth jams. I want a table that wont fold away, a proper dining table with a room to put it in. I want to fill the room with those who want to eat, savor, laugh, and drink. I want a home to fill with voices and appetites, to provide nostalgia. To cook a dinner, then fall asleep with a sheet for a blanket listening to the crickets and sprinklers in the night. Roast chicken with rosemary and kosher salt, the crackling of the skin, the sweetness of the carrots as they stew in my life, the one I want but won’t have at any cost. I’ll earn it.