Friday, May 3, 2013

Story-A-Day May: Two for the price of one!

I did write my story yesterday, before midnight even-- after I came back from my writing group. I was just too tired to post it, so here it is, with a little polish of editing to shine it up since I had the time. The second will follow later, so if you should happen to read this early Friday, please come back tonight for the rest.

Guava and Lime

 Under the sick white glaze of overhead fluorescents, her knife rocked in well-controlled pace, firm, a natural part of her hand extended over the onions being reduced to ever smaller particles. Minced so fine that their juice ran off the side of the wooden board, they gave surprisingly little smell. The cook had first halved them then steeped them in lime, before patting them dry for the final cutting. She used them for flavor, not bite; a trick she’d learned on an island paradise she had no intention of returning to, in this career-- in this lifetime.

 Meanwhile the hob behind her heated to smoking hot, and in a moment the tiny confetti of onion would be thrown into a dry pan over that blaze, to scorch and char briefly. Then the cook would combine them with chilled guava chunks, a sprinkling of spice and more lime— a salsa for topping her signature dish of broiled filet. The authentic recipe called for a cut that wasn’t available in the states, and even the guava was a poor stand-in for its island self, but few of her customers would discern the differences. They raved over the intriguing tropical tone of her offering, whose true origins she kept to herself and thought of only rarely during her daily prep.

 The fruits on that island were sweeter, riper, more complex in flavor than any grown on any large continent she had ever visited, and she had visited many. The meats, wild or farmed, had a tender lushness to them, almost a creaminess when the flesh was properly cooked, and the local rum was as freshly delicious and easily consumed as springwater. Its sweet urgings had contributed to an array of bold, thoughtless nights and rough mornings during her long stay. Those nights, if she allowed herself to remember them, could still make her blush, make her knife-hand shake as she used other lessons learned then to tantalize and tease, comfort and challenge the palates of her guests. Just as her own tastes once had been teased and challenged— but certain flavors, some exotic fruits, could never be had very far from their source. Some delicacies, you couldn’t bring home.

© By Mari Kozlowski, May 2, 2013.

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