Last Ten


Tag Archive: a great story begins with salad

Doug was in the kitchen eating a salad. It was two a.m. I had gone in the kitchen to get a drink of water. When I asked Doug what he was doing. He looked at his salad and said, “Eating.” I had not seen Doug in almost two years. He had never been much of a salad eater. The last time I saw him was at our son’s funeral. I had almost forgotten one of my children was dead. Well, that’s not entirely true. A dead child will always be a memory. Doug was using a spoon to eat his salad. This made sense. It was the sort of thing Doug would do. I tried to remember if all the forks were dirty. It didn’t matter. Doug put a vegetable in his mouth, chewed, swallowed, and said something about drinking. I was thinking about something else so I don’t know if he said he had started or stopped drinking again. The salad bowl seemed larger than any of the bowls I owned. And it was yellow. I wouldn’t normally own a yellow salad bowl. I was going to ask Doug where he found the bowl but he began talking before I had a chance to talk. And as usual whenever Doug decided to talk instead of letting me talk, he talked about all things I didn’t want to talk about. Something about a war. I still was focused on the bowl so I didn’t quite catch whether we were starting a new war or not ending an old war. Doug seemed to notice I wasn’t paying attention because he stopped talking about war. It’s weird when two people have a lot to talk about, but they end up not talking. Maybe Doug only came back to eat salad and not talk. I thought about yelling. It made my insides feel good as I imagined breaking the salad bowl and saying something like, “You think you can just walk back into my life and eat salad.” Then Doug would say, “Fine I won’t eat salad ever again.” And that’s when I would scream, “It’s never been about salad!” A commercial break would follow. The commercial would either be advertising trucks or meat. When I finally stopped fantasizing about theoretical conversations, Doug and I were watching bad television. I was still thirsty. I had not done what I had gone to the kitchen to do. Most likely the salad bowl was half-eaten on the counter. I don’t quite understand how people can manage to only eat half a salad. As the bad television continued I thought of all the uneaten salad in the world. It seemed like there is a lot of it floating around. There’s probably enough uneaten salad out there right now to feed the entire universe for at least a month. In other news, bad television sure seems to take a long time. Everything about it feels very confusing. I don’t even remember turning on the television, but it seems fitting Doug would show up randomly one night and the evening would end with us watching bad television. As I continued to watch bad television I tried to figure out if I was a male or female. I’m pretty sure I hadn’t decided yet. Usually most people have decided by now. It seems okay I haven’t decided. Worrying about uneaten salad seems more important than deciding what gender I am. When the bad television ended, Doug and I went back into the kitchen. One of my holes was glowing, but Doug didn’t notice. I couldn’t tell if the glowing was good or bad, but maybe I’m not qualified to judge. Instead, maybe my only duty is to recognize my glowing hole. An unsubstantiated amount of time passed. At this point, my narration has been so unreliable it wouldn’t matter if I had given a specific length of time. All that matters is the glowing continued. I don’t know where Doug went. Another one of our children died. Maybe Doug was at the funeral. I decided not to attend because it’s not like anything matters once a hole on your body starts glowing. It was glowing so good I thought I might be able to make something to replace the new dead child, but when I tried to make a replacement child the hole just glowed more and more until it couldn’t glow anymore. So I returned to the kitchen for a drink of water. Doug was gone. He was really gone for maybe the last time. The extremely large yellow bowl was also gone. But the half eaten salad was not gone. It was half on the counter. Some was streaked down a cabinet. The rest was on the linoleum. I began to lick the salad off the cabinet. I wasn’t sure if it was safe to eat from the linoleum, but I did. Someone was watching bad television in the other room. I ignored the bad television and began working on the last of the salad on the countertop. Mostly, it tasted like old salad, but a little bit of it tasted like Doug.