Put the sweet potato and onions to boil, she said aloud to herself. Do not forget the carrots, salt and pepper. Humming to herself as she plonked herself onto the armchair with a book after leaving the pot on the stove to boil. Sweet potato soup, his favourite. She smiled as she thought about him, his long lashes, curly. Grey eyes, and curly ashen hair, a sort of blond. Tall.
She was never taken though. She was so nonchalant about their beginning. She never really desired him but felt a sort of sorry for someone that tender, that lovely.
She was the sweetest girl ever, she was. And her home oozed a certain sweetness too. A brick home like she always wanted, with a large kitchen space. Enough to host dinner parties, just like how she imagined. She was always the girl that would be baking, apron on. Pies, and such. Her two dogs kept her company throughout the day. There is also the baby in her tummy. She sung to it as she read.
The pot clattered as the water boiled, cooking the vegetables. She imagined them as they soften. Two hours, she said. Two hours before it will be soft enough. She wished she had somebody to telephone at times like this. While she was cooking. Her mother used to do that, phone relatives and friends while she was waiting for the potatoes, or the roast. She imagined what her mother would sound like on the phone, and what they would talk about.
She sent them pictures. Very often. Just to prove that she was alright. That her decision was not all that bad. She sent them letters to prove something to them who did not turn up to the wedding. She sent them something weekly until she heard about the quake, from him. Melancholia washed over her. He should have told her earlier. But to him they were forgotten people. He never appreciated them as people anyway. She wished she stood up for them.
Against him. She chose this instead. Instead.
She let herself out into her garden for a puff and a walk. She lit her cigarette and sucked at its tip. She stood watching the dim orange at the end if the white stick and the white wisp of smokes that floated up. She moved her hand around making shapes with the smoke. And then she sucked at it again. Daffodils covered the square plot in her backyard. The bright yellow bed of flowers helped on these melancholic days. It sharply sliced through the grey and lets in the sun.
She never understood that it was not about the fact that he was white. She should have given her parents more credit than to see them as narrow-minded racists. The chinese all are, he told her. He saved her from her race. A year in and she wished she saw what they saw. Him for who he is.
She turned off the fire and tasted the soup. She laid out a plate, and got out the blender, fished out the carrots and onions first and dropped them into the glass jug of the blender. She then took the sweet potatoes out of its skin, and poured the soup in. Then the milk. She turned on the blender, and slowly pulsed until the vegetables turned pulpy. Then she turned on the blender to low and watched the pulp turn a creamy orange as the blender lets out a low hum and drill.
The hum, the low-pitched noise she heard every day she was with him. The voice that came from within nagging at her about all things that were wrong with him.
His red eyes, pulpy and blood shot. That squint, his reaching for her. His laugh. His criticism, first of her friends, then her family then her. Her world flipped and suddenly she was weak, flustered, unsure, a different girl from what her friends and family knew. Often afraid that every step was a wrong one.
The yell. Then throwing of the plate. “Too lumpy, can’t you cook?” That was his response to her first attempt at sweet potato soup. “Drink it all yourself I want to watch you drink it.” His squint, and narrowing eyes, beady. His continuous shouting and banter kept at her until she finished the whole pot of soup. Then he demanded she made another. “Christine made better” Comparing it to his ex-girlfriend’s. Before comparing it to his grandmother’s.
She poured the liquid back into the pot and stirred it with a wooden spoon. Smooth. Perfect. She smiled. He would be pleased would with this. He should be she had perfected her soups.
Her face darkened as she looked out the window. She had planned to move out, back to her family. Bags were packed but he came at her, eyes narrow. “Oh they are dead, they have been dead a while.” She stared at him, lips moving. His breath smelt of onion. “Angela makes the best French Onion Soup.” His onion breath was hot as he spoke into her ears. “There was an earthquake. I did not think it was necessary for you to find out. You would just get distressed.”
And she choked. Choked as she listened to his words, his mockery. Choked as she felt his dirty palm on her breasts. She could still smell Angela’s sweat on them. She gagged as she felt his course fingers rub her body and grab the cheeks of her behind. Tears streamed down her cheeks and her body became malleable, weakened by the regret that crept out in a never ending stream to drown her.
“I love it when you surrender like that.”
She surrendered her consciousness and she watched the woman, Mary, melt under his arms. She watched as he slapped that woman Mary’s bottom shouting profanities only Mary heard. She watched as that woman Mary sucked, and poked. She watched as he stroked her head. And then she watched as that woman Mary bit. And struggled. That woman Mary ran. And that woman Mary repeatedly hit her husband with the wine bottle that she had smashed over the top of his head.
She watched as that woman Mary continued hitting her husband. First with the broken wine bottle. Then with the baseball bat. She watched as that woman Mary laugh till she cried.
The clock chimed. Six o Clock, dinner time. Always must be punctual, she muttered to herself. Never late. She brought the pot of soup to boil and set it on the serving bowl. His favourite bowl. She placed it on the serving tray carefully and carried it slowly outside.
Dinner time, she called out.
Of course he did not come.
Oh, you lazy bum, she said as she picked up the bowl of soup.
She poured the bowl of soup over her daffodil garden.
Enjoy, she whispered.
He was asleep too soundly under flower bed.