Dinner Alone

You will not succumb to the sandwich in front of the TV.
You set the table with the striped cloth, just as you had
planned. You fix a proper salad—not just lettuce, but
tomatoes, a few shreds of carrot, a little celery and the
garbanzo beans you bought. Compromise on bottled dressing.
Think: It is pleasant to have these occasional evenings to
myself. Put the big steak back in the fridge for another night;
the small one will do. Fry it the way your grandmother used
to fry steak, the way she fixed it for you and your husband
when you were first married—lots of salt on a sizzling cast
iron pan and the vent on high.  Don’t bother heating up the
oven for one potato; make garlic toast of the stale Italian bread
like your mother taught you. Open the good wine. Chat with
the cat. Leave the vent on low for the hum. Open the book of
poetry you’ve been meaning to read. Cut. Chew. Swallow.
Give half the steak to the dog. Pour another glass of wine.
Leave the dishes. Get comfortable in the brown swivel chair
in the den. Pick up the murder mystery you were reading last
night while you ate alone. Fix a bowl of ice cream. Look
at the clock. Flick on the Law and Order rerun—the one
where the educated woman kills her philandering husband in a
devilishly devious way and is found not guilty.
The ice cream slides down your throat.
It is cool and creamy.

 
 

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