Dinnertime

By Scott W. Williams

The way she cared for him after his stroke a decade past, and after his heart attack three years ago, was the reason he trusted Kora, as he called Zi-Kora-Na-Chidin-Ma. Though after their first five years together she decided she didn’t want to sleep in the master bedroom with the sky light and she moved to the plain double bedroom where she remained twelve hours a day. That was good because he couldn’t get proper sleep anyway with the TV on all night. That was bad because her bedroom was the only place they were close. A few years later, she said, “No more sex.”

For twenty years of the sexless marriage, he continued to love Kora. But after a time love withered and there were only the marriage vows to impede his lust-wander.

Today they approached their silver anniversary, and the only joint relationship connection remaining is at dinner. Not dinner together at the dining room table, she doesn’t like eating with him, but the dinner she cooks and serves him at the kitchen table. Don’t make the wrong assumption. Kora is a great cook. She creates various Indian, Chinese, Turkish and French dishes but Egusi Soup and Adalu Corn are just a couple of her unbelievable native dishes. He thought I really should write a poem about her.

Today is also the third night after Kora returned from her annual month long “vacation” to her native land. When she said, “I will cook you dinner tonight.” He was amazed jet-lag didn’t again keep her in bed for a week. Hours later from his upstairs office, he faintly hears her “DINNERTIME!” call. He held a half finished poem in abeyance and proceeded downstairs.

He approached the dinner table, his eyes brimmed with pleasure at the sight of Ma Po’s Bean curds (stir fried very thin noodles, almonds, scallions and tofu). As he sat, he said, “What joy this meal and your efforts give me. How thoughtful, you also chose Negroni, our wedding party aperitif.”

Just before placing the first filled-too-full-fork into his mouth, he glanced at his wife standing as usual beside the stove get ready to take her plate to her bedroom. Expressing thanks, he then raised the Negroni with a, “Thank you dear.” He watched her carry her plate to the stairs. As she turned, he thought he caught a hint of a smirk. After finishing dinner, he began to rise yet felt woozy as if he had had weed and more than the single glass of Negroni. He began to feel weak and confused. He hears off in the distance “is this murder?” as if it did not come from his mouth.

He approached the table once more. Again his eyes filled with pleasure at the sight of Ma Po’s Bean curds and Negroni. Expressing thanks, he then raised the Negroni to her. As she turned, he thought he caught a hint of a smirk. He began to feel dizzy, confused and weak. He hears “is this murder?” as if it did not come from his mouth.

He finds himself approaching the dinner table for the umpteenth time as if to fix something. He smiled with the thought of proffered food and drink. Suddenly he feels whoozy and weak. He hears “is this murder?”

Weakly he found himself once again approaching the dinner table.  As before he smiled with the thought of proffered food and drink .∎

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