She has been in the kitchen for hours basting the turkey and preparing the perfect Thanksgiving meal: the meat will be juicy and moist, the vegetables, tender and fragrant, the stuffing, warm and satisfying. The gravy will be full of flavor so as to hide the slight overdose of flour, and yet deceptively light, so as to not overpower the delicate taste of the bird. Isn’t it a perfect metaphor for whom she has become? Here she is, a fresh meadow green apron tied around a waist that has thickened somewhat over the years; if she closed her eyes for just a second, if she allowed the tension in her shoulders to ease a little, she would sense the wind of freedom blowing over the open fields, she’d get a glimpse of greener pastures and foreign lands. But the words “Who’s going to wash up?” printed in harsh, gloomy purple letters on her everyday straitjacket ground her in the present, in the tasks at hand. She lives in a world where duty rules, where serving a superb dinner is the ticket to a mock perception of contentment. The sauce bubbles gently and spats the front of her apron; it will need to be washed now. Dirty, it would talk of the long hours spent cutting, slicing, stirring. Greasy, it would betray the image of the lovely hostess, immaculate, in control, enjoying herself. She reaches for the gravy boat. Its white sheen makes its shape even more appealing, even more inviting. It’s an open door to greater adventures, a call to rediscover the woman she might have been. She picks up the pan and pours the delicate concoction into the dish. She will not be traveling tonight; the ship will leave port without her. She carries the boat to the dinner table and with it her buried hopes of a different self. She takes off the apron and leaves it in the kitchen. She does not need it anymore. She knows her part; she knows what to do.
(to be continued)