Sunday, April 17, 2011

Let's talk about knives.

The photograph that Karl Lilje took of me and the big knife has been commented upon, written about and questioned. For the compliments, I thank you. As for the rest - let me put your minds at ease: I love cooking. I like sharp knives to cut things up with in the kitchen. Dicing and filleting. That's it. This trait runs in the family, but we don't throw knives at other people. At least not without good call.
My personal hell will be filled with blunt knives. I'm the kind of person who takes a Swiss Army and a Victorinox paring knife to picnics. Longer than a day? I'll pack the medium chef's knife too.

I keenly wished to love him. It's possible to learn a myriad of skills, from new languages and swimming, to being a calmer person. You can bend and mold your body - build muscles and mind power. But there is simply no way to make yourself love someone, even if it seems like the best idea in the whole wide world. We spent hours together reading recipes, cooking. Even now, the smell of freshly ground cardamom takes me back to that kitchen with the scary-sharp Sabatier knives, the blades flashing like sunlight in his hands. He was an adventurous cook. He delighted me with irreverence.

He took me on picnics in the forest.
Outdoor opera.
Shaolin Monks.
Veuve Clicquot in misty cold glasses.
Morello cherries, picked by us.
Blue blooded cheese from France.
His heart on a plate.
Figs stuffed with nuts and honey,
in golden paper pastry.
Dark smoky wine, the scent of chocolate and coffee.
A salad of the tiniest baby leaves. Spanish ham, translucent and salty. Spindly mushrooms, pale and delicate as ghosts. Walnut oil. Pomegranate molasses...

At the dinner table, he held my hand gently, rubbing the pillow of my thumb. I used to listen to him talk, lulled by his beautiful deep voice. Fears banished, doubts quelled. Lazy eyed and full bellied. But somehow it wouldn't last - despair would slowly take hold within me, the way ink spreads in water, and I would leave. Again and again.

The last time I went to his house, he wasn't there. I stood wretchedly looking at the fruit trees in the garden. Wishing for a different world and something else. I left the lime tree at his door. Pitiful I know, but it was something that could grow. 



Susan A. said...

just beautiful.

Marie said...

Mooi, meisiekind! Eina.

Lily Turner said...

thanks girls.

Anonymous said...

Ahhh...miskien eendag.

fi said...

Gosh Lily. You should really write a novel. Please say you will. This writing is so delicious and so poignant and sad it made me cry.

Lily Turner said...

thanks Fi. that's a huge compliment! a novel... is a big thing.
there are some short stories.
baby steps.

Mark said...

Lil, you still astound your old cynical friend.
I do believe there's a book in that brain.

Lily Turner said...

dear not-so-cynical old friend. thank you.