Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: LUST (all-consuming desire; excessive craving) (01/08/15)
TITLE: Off the Leash
By Jody Day
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“Mom used a little more oregano in her sauce.” My husband of three months felt it necessary to inform me of the infinite differences between my cooking and his June Cleaver mother. Her name is really June and she was a godly, loving saint whom I loved dearly. I still miss her, but how could I compete with that?
The cute little thought cropped up one night at dinner. I wonder what it would be like to…” but no, I’d never do it.
“Not a bad casserole, but you really should call Mom for her recipe. It has a little extra something, something.” He cleaned his plate that night, but the food still must not taste up to par. I fed that little puppy in my brain. It might feel so good to… and I fed the thought as I loaded the dishwasher.
I decided to go all out. A quick survey of all my lunch friends garnered a recipe for a Mexican casserole that could not fail. No high dollar chef took more care with a meal than I did with that casserole. The finest ingredients carefully sliced, chopped, layered and garnished went in to that 9 by 13 dish.
While my hands artfully worked with care and precision, my mind petted the thought I’d been nurturing until it grew to gargantuan proportions. If he says one wrong word about this food, I’ll… and the monster’s claws were fully grasped around my heart.
He came home and smiled at the special table setting complete with romantic candles burning. “Something smells good.” He rubbed his hands together and took his seat.
I’d dressed up and donned a cute little lacy apron. I set the steaming casserole on the table with my best June Cleaver smile and waited. Literally. I stood with my hands folded, anticipating his response.
He served himself a man sized portion, held his fork at the ready but looked up. “You gonna eat?”
“Yes, but I want to know how you like it first.” The monster mastiff in my brain buzzed with anticipation.
He took one bite and nodded his head. “Good. You outdid yourself, honey.” He took another bite.
Well, all right, then. I sat down across the table and put my napkin in my lap. I realized exhaustion had consumed my appetite, but I served myself a portion anyway. The thought of going to so much trouble every night just to keep him from referencing his mother made my shoulders droop.
“You know, Mom always mixed a little jalapeño in with her green chilies,” he said, serving himself another slice.
‘I wonder what it would feel like’ and ‘It might feel so good to’, as well as ‘If he says one wrong word’ morphed into mindless action. It almost came naturally, because it was part of me.
Both my arms scraped the entire contents of the table into the floor. There! Months of nursing the thought monster culminated into one dramatic, ‘I’ll show you!’ moment.
As surely as the meat and cheese ran down the dent on the wall made by the casserole dish when it hit, I realized that I hadn’t thought past the point of desire fulfilled. I hadn’t anticipated my husband sliding to the floor on his hands and knees, picking up dishes, silverware, and splattered food. My monstrous thoughts never saw a tear slip down his cheek, or the words he might say.
“Oh my gosh, honey, I’m so sorry. Was it the comment about Mom? I’m such an idiot, of course that would upset you after all this work.” He cut his finger on a broken plate.
I dropped to the floor beside him and held pressure on his cut. “I’m so sorry, so sorry. I don’t know what came over me. It’s just that, well, my meals never seemed good enough. I just kept thinking about doing this so much. I should have just told you how I felt.”
“And I shouldn’t have kept mentioning Mom’s methods. It actually occurred to me that it might bother you, but you never said anything. Well, you know what Mom always said, oops, sorry.”
“No, that’s okay. What did Mom always say?”
“What you think about, you bring about.”
Mom was right.
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