Jane is a lifelong champion of questionable Art, wine, and fluoro orange snacks that can be slipped onto fingers. She is humbled by chickpeas, thunder and the unwavering kindness of those who daily ascend her bedside hillock of never-to-be-read books, to gift a morning mug of tea.
At sixteen, I bought a bright yellow breadknife for 59 cents and a pair of flimsy tea-towels that I placed carefully under my bed.
What is a Glory Box when placed below where you lie?
And one night, with a daring - drunken?- vault into bed, my foot found the yellow handled blade, unsheathed, and carved it open.
It was Spring.
The slice on my foot bloomed septic, as I started three days work at the A and P show as an assistant to “The Cooking Demonstrator from The New Zealand Egg Board’. My first experience of cooking that wasn’t infused with the tense call and response of familial obligation. The demonstrator was calm and cool. Her confidence, not contagious; awed by her proficiency and inventiveness. The dishes served were delicious. Shy, clumsy, I cleared away. Created Pyramids of egg cartons, sliced onions, potatoes. Grated cheese. Stood. With increasing discomfort.
Late October heat pairs with a mean seasonal wind that flays hair into icecreams and candy floss, genial mood into squabble. It carries fairground screams, incessant roar of machinery, bray of animals and Farmers come to town, fanning the solid waft of shit smell and hotdogs. I sliced and sweated for three days. My foot screeched, wept and ballooned under an unwise nylon stocking. Sawing at a potato, I diced a tiny curl from my thumb tip. The smudge of pink potato visible - to me, only? - for a lifelong second before folded, briskly; into alchemy of heated eggs and butter. Those amongst the wind whipped citizens who enjoyed a frittata wedge that day, I hope, bear no ill will.
I hobbled home, poisoned, at the end of three days to concern, medication and convalescence. The throb. The triumph.
I have kept the payslip for those hours.
The scar too. The knife I certainly did.
It lies still, in a current kitchen drawer. My Familiar. A constant, cheering, witness. It cuts beautifully.
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