September 21, 2022

My Kitchen

My kitchen is always clean. Clean and tidy. Every morning I put away last night’s dishes, fill or empty the dishwasher, the ice cube trays, the little trap inside the sink. I scrupulously wipe down the counters for fear of ants, which arrive with the rains anyway. I turn the toaster oven from the Toast setting to Off because it makes a humming noise which my husband either can't or chooses not to hear. I eradicate down the sticky mess from last night's Masala curry, hunt down the escaped couscous which has hidden behind the coffee jar, sweep the floor of renegade garlic peels and coffee grinds, dust down the trash can and the pet food dispensers, start thinking about tonight's dinner, look through the fridge, the freezer, choose something to thaw. Could be quiche.

We rarely sit at the kitchen table - a big glass affair made out of iron ivy which I painted a glittery purple with bronzed Raku leaves. There's a green spider plant suspended from where the legs meet, a bitch to water. When I was in high school, family conversations were strained, and became more stressful as my teenage years progressed, so by the time I was a senior I would do anything to get out of dinner. It's no wonder that now we never sit at the dining table to eat.

Sometimes we'll do a puzzle on the table, or I'll pop one of Chip’s photography lamps underneath and turn it into a lightbox for an art project. It belonged to his mother, and he used to eat breakfast at this table when he was a child. Now it's the space for painting watercolors, paying bills, or simply being a clear surface, a place for the ephemera of life to land, emptying grocery bags or opening packages from Amazon.

I remember this table in Helen's house after she passed, then it sat in our backyard for years, the pale green paint slowly flaking off and rusting. I worried the cats would eat the paint flex and be poisoned, so sometime during COVID I sanded and painted, brought it into my office, and used it as my desk for the  ubiquitous zoom meetings.

At some point, when I decided to start offering Reiki again and needed space for my massage table. I sold the blonde wood kitchen table that I had bought at Sweets-In-The-Nude when I first moved here in 1994, but kept the chairs. Usually we have only two at the table - one of the others is upstairs in the bedroom for me to fling my work clothes on, the last one sits in the back room, a makeshift shelf for the box of stuff that Chip is supposed to scan, file, and shred. That's another story.