I love you very much, painfully so, with the yearning of spending too much time apart. We are that couple, together, in public, but just as much with no eyes on us but each other.
I cannot recall the music, writing this now, but I remember, in late February, dancing in the kitchen with you, guarding for the slight slip of my black cotton tights on the faux wood linoleum as we shimmy-twist. Alongside the peril of losing my footing, it’s distracting how beautiful you look in motion, in a blue blazer over a light blue button down. Your body tapers sharply from your shoulders, shimmying. I’m wearing the green vintage dress you bought me for Christmas. When we pull apart and I twirl, the skirt bells out, all picturesque.
We have returned from a Pike Place Market french restaurant, where I stole half of one of your crab cakes, and you took, at my urging, half my salmon filet. I think I got the better trade, though there was nothing wrong with my fish.
There was a window to the restaurant kitchen marked by a pile of citrus fruits, aiming to put themselves into the dining area to make things feel more casual, or maybe make the most of the space. Once upon a time, in the 70s, this was a jazz spot, but its so crowded I wonder where they used to put the musicians. Still, it’s well prepared fresh fish, bread with a $5 up charge and pleasant crab cakes. And noise, lots of it, more crush and clatter than intimacy. The hints of old music, there, are drowned out in the excess of the conversation of others. I am content, holding back my urge to nitpick this nice gift, but nevertheless we do not favour them with the opportunity to sell us dessert. You serve me icecream instead, later, after we have danced. Looking after me is just what you do.
When I arrived for the weekend, I took the train in. It’s always comfortable, but too crowded that particular night to fight the line in the dining car, so you met me with food. It’s been a bad eating week for me again, a fact that I am not proud of, but being home in my space is driving me a bit nuts when I try to cook.
I daydream about kitchens that are not shoved into main areas. I am well sick of exposed, designed for people who don’t cook counters that push atrocious storage and a strict inability to let anything be, lest it become noxious clutter. I keep optimizing, all the endless expenses to try to make the space livable. Hooks for this and that, shelves expanding outwards and upwards. Ultimately no compensation can fix a cramped, poorly laid out space with too many things in it. And there’s no walls in spaces, anymore, a victim of the open plan trend. Sharing these spaces is even more frustrating, because there’s twice as much room to let the dishes or the mess get away from you.
If, perhaps, I lived flung out from my work by another 30 minutes, I might have my own solo shoebox, on my comfortable middle class salary. It pays more, on this coast, but rents jack up to eat one’s earnings. But, even paying more, the kitchen would still be in my bedroom, or at best, still in my living room. On the west coast, new construction is the norm. I think they are so cheap, regardless of the actual cost, they would leave the doors off bathrooms, if they could justify it.
Case in point: Tech job or not, your kitchen, the one I danced in, is “open plan” as well. This pivot and swirl smooth space I slide about in is an island of no texture in the otherwise stucco and wall to wall carpet, an alley of linoleum fenced between appliance and an island counter. For this visit, you draped the island in a rich quilt, handmade in a medley of turquoise and blue, serving as tablecloth to display a bouquet of flowers. Pink and purple and green, stems capped by pale, fat roses that remind me of babygirl birthday cakes. Just for me, to be pretty to look at for the weekend.
We’re in the approximate orbit or Valentine’s day, so we brought each other gifts to unwrap, too. Yours were piled up on the kitchen island when I got there, mine hand wrapped in sticker covered tissue paper and tied with real satin ribbon. You gave me a cape-capped coat dress with a flash red lining; a box of fancy tea; costume brooches; and spangle-sparkly tuxedo bodysuit that tugs at your fetishes to lift the collective sense of power over you, even as the glitter roughness of the fabric repels your touch. I gave you a high end, self thrusting sextoy by lovense.