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I believe in artichokes

Italy did ruin me. After that first trip I came back disgusted by bodega coffee, which now smelled of old socks. Before, it was just fine. I rolled my eyes at red sauce joints, detouring old standbys like a stranger. If eating can be seen as a religious or spiritual experience I had been to the mountain. In time I would return on pilgrimages, always holding the simple pleasures in my thoughts.  An artichoke, methodically fried in good olive oil, with some salt. Black truffles, good butter and fresh pasta twisting around the back of a fork. A very cold and tiny glass of porto bianco sipped in a Genoa bar, with my friend Federico. A man cleaning sardines on a block of wood in the street. A woman selling green figs that she wraps into a newspaper cone. I have thousands of these memories, these artifacts. But I live in Moscow, where there has been an embargo for years now, and there is no population that expects perfect mounds of fresh cheese. They ship powdered palm oil here, that gets …

just an avocado and goodnight

Woke up late, the sky already a bright pale blue. The house was still clean. Well, clean enough. Fed the cat, drank the coffee, checked the messages and then outside my jacket open to a soft wind. Marching down the avenue listening to Pet Sounds on the headphones, thumping my hand against my leg as the stores say "sale".

And here the little vegetable stand, Angelica asks we what I am cooking and I say guacamole with grapefruit and almonds, quesadillas with homemade tortillas. She smiles blandly, pretending to understand. Mexican food does not exist here. I could just as well say I was frying up meteors.

"For who?" She asks.
I smile.
She nods back, and puts an extra avocado in the bag for free.

At rinock, the place is choatic - the slick floor always a perfect way to end up on your ass. I buy bulochki and take giant mouthfuls of the soft, fragrant bread. Here is my cheese lady. She has a giant space between her two front teeth. I taste three options, and buy half a kilo of the saltiest, creamiest one. It feels heavy in my hand, soft and wet.

At home I am suddenly tired (after making the chocolate mousse), and take a nap in the clean living room, with the cat curled up on my knees. The floor is smiling at me.

Three o'clock and I'm knee deep in dough and roasted hot peppers, cleaning shrimp, revising the cocktail sauce with some paste I bought in Chinatown the last time I was in New York. The avocados are lined up on the windowsill like sleeping wild animals.

I'm playing the CD I made for her, loud in the other room. Did I say too much? Not enough?

And then it's 5 when she's supposed to get here and she's on time which never happens in Moscow, or really anywhere. I am going down in the elevator, trying to see if i have any giant hairs sticking out of my head that I might have missed, hoping my breath smells like ginger, or cinnamon. And she is already inside, with a noisy bunch of keys, a giant purse, her nervous smile, black hair to hide behind.

She is rolling her eyes, eating slowly, her feet curled beneath her. The sky is dark, and we talk long into the night, as I keep making her cups of coffee. We never do watch that film.

Later, I clean the snow from her funny little car. It's an impossible stretch of time, these seconds when a goodbye kiss could present itself. The moment passes, and she offers her cheek.

Her perfume hangs in the air as she gets in and drives off.

I think she'll like the CD.

Comments

The Expatresse said…
Oh, yay for the successful date!!!!
Rabbit blogger said…
thanks, miss lux..."move over, walking wounded"
brenda said…
Hallalujah! Period!
Anonymous said…
Do you have copy writer for so good articles? If so please give me contacts, because this really rocks! :)
Rabbit blogger said…
anonymous, for writing inquiries - you can contact me at: marconorth@gmail.com
Anonymous said…
I didn't understand the concluding part of your article, could you please explain it more?
Rabbit blogger said…
anonymous - well, "I think she'll like the CD" is a sort of wish that the CD i made for her expresses everything I want her to feel, to understand. As I could find the right moment to express myself physically, I just had to leave things with a bit of faith...and as you will see in the later entries- - everything did fall into place.

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