I keep thinking about the time I tried to convince you that substituting olive oil for the vegetable oil I had forgotten to toss into my grocery cart earlier that day would work perfectly fine for the recipe. It’s just oil, I shrugged. And ginger snaps are spicy enough to mask the difference, anyway. Leaning over the kitchen counter, slumped in your usual posture, you shook your head omnisciently and promised me it wouldn’t. Just trust me, you said. But I’ve always been stubborn– especially with you– so I ignored your rash foreshadowing and poured the pale green liquid until it spilled over the edge of the measuring cup. Into the batter it settled and sunk. You smiled as I relished in my own genius, twirling in circles, a kitchen fairy.
When the oven beeped, our cookies had turned dogsh-t beige and lumpy. The texture and flavor reeked of my poor judgment. As I disgustedly dumped the contents of the tray into the disposal, I remember taking note of the depth of your stare– half pure fascination, half all-knowing. You were certain I wouldn’t listen; I hardly ever did. You just wanted to observe me, annoyingly persistent and forever set in my ways. In your eyes I was the Eighth Wonder of the Apartment Kitchen.
I should’ve heeded your advice about the oil. And then again, when you warned me through sticky tears that the man I would eventually leave you for would squander me like a counterfeit, like a lousy batch. If I were a real genius of foresight, I would’ve saved the batter for tomorrow. I’d siphon it into Tupperware until I could buy a cheap bottle of the proper oil. We’d bake tomorrow, you and I.
Maybe I’d even stay with you, instead of fleeing from the only person who cared enough to adore me, even in the failure of my own false prophecy.
To be observed like that by another soul again. To be understood and adored–just trust me–before the timer went off and it was time to reveal what we had made.