“We are eating butter pasta,” I announce with a brevity that is beyond me. By “we” I mean me, and this declaration came with no more than giving a sardonic nod to my slanted painting on the kitchen wall for we have eaten butter pasta a dozen times in the span of half a week. “We” used to be the pair the meaning defines it as, you and me, but we are no longer a we; rather, “we” are a be, a be-fore, a before it all happened.

Perhaps you’re curious as to what’s going on in the apartment you left all too long ago[1]. I know I need groceries. I am out of spices and garnishes and milk and eggs and I think peaches, too. I also know that I am good. I was born good, or perhaps made good very early on. I bring my mother coconut milk smoothies every other Sunday and fresh biscuits with thyme on the second weekend of every month[2].

Furthermore – ooh, I like this word, “furthermore.” It’s smart, like me. Anyway – no, wait, that’s not the word I want to use. Furthermore, I read books. I read books a great deal, in fact, and I’ve harnessed an affinity to quoting them in settings they won’t be recognized. I can’t say it’s feigning intellectualism because I know fairly well that I have quite the intellect; the party I surround myself with usually ends up being a crowd of twenty-something business students, though. I don’t talk to strangers. I mingle with acquaintances, but they’re always friends of friends. I’m a bit erratic in thought, but does my newfound educated vocabulary make up for it? I think I was too dumb for you. Maybe that was it, my brain (or lack thereof), and not my body[3].

I thought this is what you wanted, no? I am sweet, sweet like coconut milk straight from the can. The canned kind is sweeter, you said. I thought that one good girl was equivalent to a thousand girls. A million plain-Janes. What am I to you, just a female[4]?

The water is boiling now. I check the clock. The train is in forty-two ish minutes. I put in nineteen noodles – I didn’t count until after I put them in, I’m not neurotic like that – and then went to the mud room. I have on the extra thick wool socks you bought me at the flea, the one with greenish-blue specks in them that I said looked like an ugly ocean. I was nineteen then; I guess the noodles knew. Maybe the butter knew. Maybe all I am are carbs and fats and a ghost of your journal’s last chapter. I was nineteen living with an Aristotle of our times, and I could’ve asked any question that the damned genius could’ve definitely answered. I just kept asking him[5] if you loved me.

I matched my sweater to my socks and then I finished the pasta. Ready to consume. Consumption time. I am like a robot that must simplify every thought I have to a command. Where did that even come from? You are probably not going to like this. You also won’t like knowing that my matching sweater-socks fashion is a la you to the tee, as this sweater was made with yarn from your mother’s house.

Back to the pasta, now. Enough about you. The pasta is in a bowl is in my hand. I eat it half with a fork. I don’t eat half of it, no, I eat all of it, I just only half use the fork. Meaning I half ate it with my mouth, drinking from the bowl like a kid with cup noodles. The only difference between the two is the butter to spice ratio, anyway.

I talk a lot about the noodles. I think it’s because you loved fancy pastas more – like al dente sacchetti rather than squishy… whatever I’ve been eating[6]. Maybe that’s not fancy; maybe I am simple. Maybe I talk a lot about the noodles because I am simple. Maybe I am boring. Maybe I’m stupid, too, because I seem to be unsure about a lot of things. Maybe you were right.

I still sit in my kitchen. The kitchen floor, to be exact. We danced here, if you remember it at all. It was a reddish day: hot outside, burning our skin[7]; stolen kisses and sultry glances consuming our idle times roaming from coffee shop to whatever-the-hell-we-found[8]; the red candle we lit on top of the stack of unread but fashionably placed books by the window. That being our sole form of lighting caused a misstep here and there, but largely I blame my lack of dancing[9].

Have you ever lusted with such unwarranted ferocity that you saw double? Even for a moment? Have you ever experienced such intensity that the hairs on your skin flew to the stratosphere, your mind and feet rising with? It is like hunger. It is like a yearning for starchy carbohydrates in the middle of a barren wasteland[10].

You do not love like I do. I am a simple woman, we’ve established that much. Yet how is it that a simple woman can encompass the indefinite heat of a thousand fires, and a man, a brilliant man, you, are but a matchstick?

Maybe I discredit myself. I eat repetitively, out of habit[11]. I think erratically, much accredited to you. Us. We are simple. Simply stupid. Your lips were butter but the sweet kind, and my pasta is effervescently savory with a touch of thyme[12]. Or was it rosemary? Oh, well. I like it all the same, just like your kisses. I can stare hopelessly at the stovetop or through the window at the moon, silently pleading for a simple phone call. I can dream of sharing a full-course meal on that damned moon with you, eating as if we are the last humans to grace its grayness.

But I need none of that right now. I need to eat cake, maybe. I need groceries.


[1] You still have my number blocked.

[2] Surely you’ll bring up how I once made them with rosemary, but she liked them all the same. You were the one who used up all of the thyme.

[3] You called me fat in a text to your mother once. Or maybe she called me fat and you agreed. Thanks for that.

[4] I like being a girl, not a female.

[5] “Him” being you. I thought you were brilliant, though you’re barely older than me.

[6] I checked the Trader Joe’s receipt: I have been eating squishy linguine. I don’t know why I remembered sacchetti and not penne.

[7] We laughed at each others’ sunburns.

[8] Oh, the places you’ll go searching for public restroom services.

[9] coordination.

[10] This barren wasteland is my (our) apartment.

[11]  Are these the thoughts that make me “fat”?

[12] How is it that I had thyme for my pasta and time to write this, yet you had no thyme for my mother’s biscuits and no time for me?