Once Upon a Time We Called It Arugula

Image from rocknrollbride.com

Our boxes line the hallway.  We’ve emptied our bookshelves, dusted them off, separated fact from fiction, and tucked everything away.  Even the cookbooks are packed.  The time has come for new recipes.

I thought I could predict our evolution.  You’d come home a hero; we’d have a child or two, a dog, a lovely garden bursting with peppers, zucchini, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, perhaps some arugula.  I thought the triumph would overflow.  I thought your successes would become mine, that your hard work would build a life for our family.  I wasn’t expecting the miscarriages, the dead vines, the ocean of water that was forever between you and I.

I don’t know what felt more empty, my heart or my womb.  You were gone for so long, but then you returned.  And somehow I was still alone, whispering “Good Night” through the phone.  I wanted to grow old and fat together, feasting on chicken, cake, and tri-colored salad.  It was you who told me about arugula, that farmers used to consider it a weed, a nuisance.  Before it was re-named, no one wanted to eat it, but I never cared.  When you’re famished, language becomes secondary.

At first, I couldn’t tell you because I couldn’t remember the words.  I never wanted to hurt you.  Telling my family was even more awful.  My mother never trusted you, but she saved her harshest words for me.  She said she’d always known I was… weak.  She told me not to call anymore.

It’s Independence Day weekend.  We should be at a theater, watching a movie where the whole world blows up, and the hero emerges triumphant.  Instead we are here, surrounded by cardboard, waiting for movers.

There’s a knock at the front door, and you rush to open it.  A tall blonde woman greets you, but you ignore her.  She strides past and kisses me hello, leaving a lipstick stain on my lips.  I pick up my suitcase, and we leave hand in hand.

This is my entry for round two of Trifecta’s 33rd challenge.  The prompt was to use the third definition of the word “triumph”.  Be sure to click the link to read the competition!  It definitely made me nervous…

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19 Responses to Once Upon a Time We Called It Arugula

  1. ChrisP says:

    You got some game girly..well done :-)

  2. rosemary mint says:

    “She said she’d always known I was… weak.” This is where I knew for sure what the ending would bring. You didn’t even have to include blonde kiss at the end. :) Your first paragraph was my favorite, especially this: “separated fact from fiction.” Wonderful work. Creative weaving of the food, as it is the small things that unravel the big ones.

  3. brenda w says:

    Strong competition. I enjoyed the read, and the twist at the end.

  4. Lucy Miller Robinson says:

    This line struck me: “And somehow I was still alone, whispering “Good Night” through the phone.” Nicely done.

  5. Amanda says:

    Wonderful piece. It’s my favorite of the second round. :)

  6. rashmenon says:

    loved it! and for me, the defining line is ‘when you’re famished, language becomes secondary’

  7. El Guapo says:

    Wow. You have an awful lot going on here, wrapped up with a nice bow at the end.
    Really good story!

    • No problem. I could tell you why I moderate, but it’s more fun to make you wonder… :)

      Glad you liked it! I really felt like I was writing a screenplay by the end. That said, I have a friend who’s a screenwriter, and he claims they are the scourge of the earth, lower than maggots… So perhaps I’ll stick to short stories. (He also reads this blog from time to time, so I should probably stop talking!)

  8. haphillips says:

    Alright, I pretty much hate you for being so good at this….anybody can write funny anecdotes about their pregnant wife, but few can do what you do here in such a brief format to boot! Dude, we are no longer talking because of my insane envy. Sorry it had to end this way.

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