BY MATT POTTER
“It stopped me dead in my tracks,” Valerie said, sitting in her darkened kitchen.
I nodded. Even in the gloom I could see the empty glass canisters, the shelves bereft of cookbooks, the apron hanging clean but dusty behind the door.
Her pudgy face, flour-coated and sugary and so life-nurturing in the past, had a different spark now, a searching look I’d seen as soon as she opened the door.
“So I gave away forty years of cookbooks. Gave away all the food in the cupboards and all my utensils.”
“Even the old wooden rolling pins?”
“Yes,” she said.
Oh, I had always loved watching those rolling pins work their pastry magic.
“What about meals?” I asked.
“My daughters both have me over once a week,” she said. “Sometimes I go out for dinner. Sometimes I don’t.” She smiled thinly.
I wiped the dust from the island cupboard where we were sitting – once the workspace for so many handsome feasts – and clasping my hands in front of me, considered what to say.
“You could have had the gas reconnected,” I said. “Having your gas accidentally cut off isn’t a sign from God that you should stop cooking.”
Valerie laughed. “No, it didn’t seem so at first.”
She hugged her elbows and looked at me.
“I gave my neighbour my kettle,” she said. “So if you want coffee, you’ll have to go next door.”
Matt Potter is an Australian-born writer who lives between Australia and Germany (particularly Berlin), perhaps following the summer. Matt has been published at The Glass Coin and Magnolia’s Press and will soon be published at Gloom Cupboard and Used Furniture Review. Matt contributes regularly to 52 / 250 A Year of Flash and the blog carnival > Language > Place, and less regularly to F3. You can find more of his work at his website, writing, and then some. Matt is also the founding editor of Pure Slush.
The empty cannisters symbolize the emptiness of her life, now. I felt every inch of that kitchen, the flour, the countertops, all so clear and so dusty, as in a painting. Lovely story
wow, i know matt in many disguises but this seems new though it is funny as usual. there’s a biblical calm about this mysterious kitchen scene as if it stands for the beginning of something larger, darker…well done.
This really worked for me on several levels of meaning. Very nicely done. Good job.
What a sad woman. Very well done indeed.
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