by Christina Dalcher
And if my last tether to you is a feeding tube, and words like ‘one more day’ and ‘not yet’ hang on your lips, take down my cookbooks from the shelf. Taste the first soufflés we made, beating whites with wire whips you fashioned from coat hangers when the fancy shop in the mall was beyond our budget. Find your favourite recipe for steak Diane, page thirty-five with the purple wine splotch, a casualty of ill-timed kitchen tickling on one anniversary or another.
“Find your favourite recipe for steak Diane, page thirty-five with the purple wine splotch, a casualty of ill-timed kitchen tickling on one anniversary or another.”
Thumb through guest lists and party menus and scribbled notes about potato salad for hungry-crowds: make more – they loved it. Remember pound cakes (birthdays), nut rolls (fifty Christmases), shad roe (Valentines Day, but only that once, you made me promise). Knead dough the way you kneaded me, and needed me; don’t worry over the recipe – we got by, mixing new ingredients as we went, adding salt and spice, tempering bitterness with sugar. So take down the books, place your hands on pages now wrinkled and stained with too many years of use. Then place your hand on mine and cook me a last kiss. And if you should miss me in that time when light turns to dark, turn on the stand mixer, pretend I’m at the stove simmering and stirring, humming some tune that has more flavour than the gurgle of a machine that feeds but does not nourish.
Christina Dalcher is a theoretical linguist from the Land of Styron and Barbecue, where she writes, teaches and channels Shirley Jackson. Recognitions include The Bath Flash Award’s Short List, nominations for Best of the Net and Best Small Fictions, and second place in Bartleby Snopes’ Dialogue-Only Contest. Find her work in Split Lip Magazine, Whiskey Paper and New South Journal, among others. Her feminist dystopian short story ‘Vox’ will be published in Upper Rubber Boot’s Women Up to No Good anthology in early 2019. Laura Bradford of Bradford Literary Agency represents her novels.