Besides David and Kate, the only other friend I’d made since my arrival in Peoria was Mrs. Oliver. A paid friend. A friend I paid to clean my house, cook my meals, do my laundry and listen to my mindless prattle. And she listened dutifully and dispensed advice only when asked.
Mrs. Oliver had cooked me a lovely little Thanksgiving dinner for one and set the big mahogany table in the dining room with the good bone china, again for one. It was taking me awhile to face that number. One. It sounded lonely, hollow, and empty.
As the sun sought the rest of another day’s end, I busied myself by putting away the unused table setting. I’d decided that eating a dinner for one at a table set for one would label me, somehow, inadequate. Inadequate of sustaining love and that label once it was applied would keep me alone forever.
After I had put away the expensive bone china and the Cornish game hen, lemon sauced asparagus, I needed something solid. Something to connect me with this world again. I wanted my Mama’s macaroni and cheese, roast turkey and dressing, collard greens, and cornbread. I went into the kitchen, flung open the refrigerator door, and hoped for a miracle. Of course, none of that, or even the fixings for those things were in my refrigerator. They didn’t fit with the lifestyle I lead now or rather, had led.
My kitchen and the things in my refrigerator reflected the state of so many other things in my life. Most of my life had been about appearances. Even the way I loved Sam was sometimes done for appearances.
The kitchen with its sterile black and white color scheme accented with chrome steel accessories always made me feel cold even on the hottest of days. Mr. Progue, my designer, said it was ‘the look’ for the nineties. I never questioned if it was ‘the look’ for me. I accepted it because that’s what I had to do in order to fit into Sam’s world.
So instead of the soul fool I craved, I made do with a BLT on sourdough bread with endive lettuce and imported plum tomatoes. When my sandwich was ready, I took it and one can of tropical fruit punch and a bottle of gin into the family room.