When I got home from work late last night I was greeted by the most beautiful sight: at the end of the dark hallway, illuminated by the soft kitchen light, stood the Beast. And he was flexing like a body builder in little red Adidas shorts.
Foodie: What exactly is going on here?
Beast: What, these? (pointing to his muscles) I just did 80 push-ups.
Foodie: That is incredible! Truly! I’m so proud of you.
Beast: Look! (pointing to his pecks)
Foodie: Yes, I see! You’re body is practically metamorphosing right before my eyes. In fact, I think you look more like a stalky, old-timey body builder than I do now! Amazing!
Beast: Thanks. Feel (pointing to his pecks).
Foodie: Yes, I see. Just incredible!
Beast: (Doing a squat.) And I’m going to start doing crunches too.
Foodie: You mean squats?
Beast: I don’t know what the fuck they’re called but I’m going to do them. Why are you taking your tights off?
Foodie: Because I need you to tell me if my hip is bruised. It’s so sore!
Beast: (Examining) It’s not bruised.
Foodie: Are you sure? Compare it to this side.
Beast: It’s still not bruised. You need to stop running. Running is for assholes.
I might have somehow injured my hip a week ago during a long-ish run and I think that’s how I talked myself out of doing a big run this last Sunday. It’s the first Sunday run I’ve missed in several months. I think this fact might have played a part in the emotional free fall that followed. In lieu of exercise, I took a nap. When I woke up I was in an inexplicable sour state. Running would have probably cheered me up–what, with the increase in endorphins and such, but instead I grabbed the Sunday New York Times and took myself out to the Aris Grill around the corner for an order of bacon and eggs. Afterwards, shockingly, I was still grumpy so I bought some summer dresses from the consignment shop down the street. That wasn’t a quick fix either, so after picking up some groceries, I came home and ate potato chips. Still miserable. Then I decided to rip apart my closet and go through the giant tupperware containers under my bed that are filled with clothes that I don’t wear.
And that did it: nearly two hours later–after playing dress-up and after curating my unwanted clothes into two neat piles–I felt better.
I even managed to kind of organize my wardrobe along the way.
By the time the Beast got home from his Sunday night shift, I was in the kitchen and in great spirits. For about five minutes.
Beast: What are you making?
Foodie: Well, I was craving a really comforting dinner so I decided on barbecued pork chops, baked potatoes and broccoli. Doesn’t that sound like a nice dinner? Sort of old-fashioned, you know?
Beast: Are you going to make the broccoli like Erinn does?
Foodie: Yes. (That means blanching it for exactly two minutes, then making sure the florets are all dry before dumping them into a smoking hot pan of olive oil, chili flakes and a garlic clove. Then you cook them until they get a little bit crispy.)
Foodie: Hey, I cleaned up my closet today and I suggest you do the same soon–you have a lot of bullshit clothes up there. And I also put away all the clothes that you left out on the rocking chair and speaking of that, I find it really insulting that you do that-that I have to hang up your shit all the time. And I hate it when you just leave clothes on top of the hamper. Like, are you fucking kidding met? You can’t even lift the lid up and dump the clothes in?
Foodie: I feel like your maid. Or roommate or something.
Beast: Did you just call me your roommate?
Foodie: Yeah, I did.
Beast: Well if we’re just going to be roommates I’m going to call my mom and dad to come pick me up because I might as well be roommates with them because at least my MOM DOES MY LAUNDRY WITHOUT GETTING SO MAD AT ME ALL THE TIME!
Foodie: I’ll get you the phone.
Foodie: Do you want to come outside with me and help barbecue?
Foodie: I’m sorry I called you my roommate and I hope you don’t move home to your mom and dad’s place. I’m just in a really funny mood today–one minute I’m up and then the next I’m down.
Beast: When’s dinner? I’m starving.
I barbecued the chops and potatoes by myself while it started to rain. It gave me a moment to consider my pour behaviour.
When I brought the food inside, the Beast and I prepared our plates.
Beast: Don’t yell at me for what I’m about to do.
Foodie: Why would I yell at you for adding delicious toppings to your baked potato?
Beast: Because you yell at me for everything these days!
Foodie: I’ll make it up to you: guess what movie I rented for us to watch with dinner tonight?!
Beast: The ten-part PBS Jazz documentary?
Foodie: No, Morning Glory! You know that new release starring Rachel McAdams and Harrison Ford?
We watched the movie and ate your old-timey, Ponderosa-inspired dinner. The pork chops were some of the best I’ve ever cooked. I barbecued them for six minutes a side (they were just a little over an inch thick) and basted them in Diana’s barbecue sauce.
On the couch, full, and watching the movie.
Beast: You’ve got a lot of grey hair!
Foodie: I know. A colleague at work pointed it out a few weeks ago too.
Beast: Doesn’t your hair dye cover it up?
Foodie: I haven’t dyed my hair since I got the greys.
Beast: Why don’t you just dye it?
Foodie: Because I have natural blonde Cuban highlights that’ll get muted if I do.
Beast: I like it.
Foodie: I’m thinking of chopping off all this shit anyway. Stephen and Liz from work say I should get it cut, like the way I had it when we first started dating.
Beast: You mean your bowl cut?
Beast: No way. You’re older now and you couldn’t pull off that cut anymore.
Foodie: I could too! But I wouldn’t because of my glasses: I’d look like Veronica from Scooby Doo.
Beast: You mean Velma?
Foodie: Whatever. What about a sort of messy look?
Foodie: You know who I’ve always admired stylistically? That feral kid from Mad Max: Road Warrior.
Foodie: You know, that one who had the boomerang? That kid looked fucking awesome. What about that sort of cut?
Foodie: Do you think I’m like Rachel McAdams in this movie?
Foodie: I do, a bit. But I’m not high up in my job like she is so I don’t think I’d get “poached”. But imagine if I did got poached from my job at a news organization by another news organization? Wouldn’t that be funny?
Foodie: No, like in a funny way because I don’t think secretaries get “poached” much in the business world. So, it would be like, “Oh hi there, this is the Toronto Star calling and we’ve heard about your faxing skills and we’d like to hire you on as our editorial assistant.” That’s funny, don’t you think? And there could be a funny bidding war and the bids would all be under $35,000 a year?
Beast: That is sort of funny actually.
Foodie: I’m feeling better now. I’m sorry again for being so grumpy.
Beast: That’s okay. Can you pass me the phone?
Beast: I need to call my mom and dad and tell them not to pick me up tonight. I’ve decided to stay.
Feelings are funny things, aren’t they? I barely have the words to explain how I feel about feelings right now, except that they’re complicated, beautiful and sometimes quite ugly. 28 years ago, however, I had plenty to say.