At the end, it was merely an exchange of recipes. The cosmic result of what resulted in being a seven-year itch was a cluster of sheepish asks for fried chicken and grilled salmon and that one recipe with the soup and the homemade croutons from rosemary bread picked up from Trader Joe’s, the one he would make for her when she wasn’t feeling tip-top, and the one she would eventually make for herself while they were still together, to make herself feel better while he munched on the flaky salt of the croutons, then eventually the recipe she would make in her own place, by herself, in a new United State, one where she felt most who she was meant to be. Like remnants from a bombed city, jagged glass and rusty red dirt, ingredients and step-by-steps were all it took to be transported back into a time when love reigned supreme, when the only fear in the world was that of the future, something they could never quite reach but often thought about. Now, the soups and the sandwiches and the steak sauce were used exclusively to draw a heavy shade over the genuine issues of American adulthood, post-relationship, post-seven-year itch, when the life you knew from before was never going to be the life you would continue to live.
Don’t get it twisted — it had been love. It started on one side, like a premature firecracker, and then slowly grew on the other, like a tomato plant in rocky soil that had a gardener who was kind and meticulous and overall patient. Patience was the key in this story, in any couple’s story. It was the only tenant that promised longevity, even though the expiration date was stamped on the goods since their very production. It was euphoria and lust and longing and travel and grief and, above all, yes, patience, on both sides, as each side tried their best to shed their fears and their lesser parts as if being straight-jacketed by a puffy winter coat and so many belts.
Tough to relive, the man decides not to consign himself to an A Clockwork Orange scenario; he has permission to look elsewhere, and so he dreams of the woman, but not the woman as she had been before, but the woman as she might be now — for there was a fatwa on communication between the two, so imagination was all the proximity there was — and goddamn was it a beautiful sight. She was currently curling her toes in brittle sand, foamy surf titillating but not touching, a swell of different feelings dancing in her in a chaotic yet choreographed routine, one that she had practiced since the beginning, and had perfected by the end, and now she could let it dance willingly, seagulls drifting on currents above her head, both perfectly in nature.
The man witnesses this from behind closed eyes.
He wonders which recipe she will cook tonight.
He hopes it will be all the flavors she is looking for.