Dinner for Three: A Short Story

I have been hard at work writing short stories using some of my life experiences as fodder for my creativity.  Here is installment one from the story, Dinner for Three.

I must reiterate, that this is part of a work of pure fiction.

In my stocking feet, I glided over to the refrigerator in rhythm with Darius Rucker’s country crooning over the iPod speakers, and pulled open the stainless steel door.  I grabbed a supple looking bundle of asparagus and set it next to the sauté pan, which was warming already with olive oil and fresh crushed garlic.  The ruby red sparkle in the wine glass next to the stove caught my eye and I let a sip of merlot slide luxuriously down my throat, savoring its warmth.   Half dancing, with wine glass held high, I surveyed the gourmet spread in front of me, which awaited my loving touch.

Fresh baked yeast rolls, one of the few things I was good at baking, cooled on a rack.  Arugula and spinach leaves nestled on the Lenox china salad plates that Ajay and I had received as a wedding gift, exactly twenty years ago today.  Fluffy sprigs of fresh cilantro dripped water into the stainless steel sink and next to it, a glass bowl contained two perfect, tenderized chicken breasts, ready to be marinated.  I had mixed up my spicy, Indian-inspired yogurt marinade, perfected over two decades of trial and error.  Infused with cumin and curry, it was just aromatic enough for my husband’s Indian palate, but mild enough for my southern-girl, sensitive taste buds.  Chicken, something his vegetarian mother would gag over, had become our dirty little culinary secret.  He never ate it in her presence, but it was the one meat he began to eat when I had drawn him to the “dark side” of American cuisine early on in our relationship.  The day he had ordered chicken fettuccine on one of our dates, I had known he was mine.

I glanced at the clock, hoping I would have enough time to get things cooking, so that Ajay would walk in from work into the aroma of warm dinner in the air.  Time stood still momentarily.  He would breeze through the garage door and present me with roses before pulling me to him, inhaling the Calvin Klein’s Obsession spritzed on my neck.  “Wow,” he would say, before softly kissing my waiting lips.  “This smells amazing.  You look amazing.”  With our eighteen year old son, Nikhil, upstairs getting ready for a date with his girlfriend Caitlin, the house would soon be empty.  

As I flicked a lighter over the wick of the jasmine scented candle I’d just bought that day, the grating roar of the garage door opening shattered my reverie.  I panicked.  Ajay was thirty minutes early!  I ran to the mirror in the foyer and quickly assessed myself.  Lipstick still on.  Check.  Sexy wisp of hair deliberately escaping from my upswept hair.  Check.  Spanx successfully smoothing my stomach through my slinky black dress.  Check.  Pushing up my miracle bra, I nearly tripped as I slid on my pumps and ran back into the kitchen to my posing spot.

Feigning nonchalance, I leaned carefully against the door casing that transitioned the mudroom to the the kitchen.  I prayed that Nikhil wouldn’t walk in on us now.  The door creaked and I licked my lips.  Looking sultry was hard work.  But after twenty years, two careers, and a child, I needed Ajay to want me.

“Knock, knock,” sang the feminine voice behind the door.  Oh, that voice.  My skin turned from flushed to icy in an instant. “Hallo, Sara!  Dinner delivery!” 

With a flow of blue silk and more sing-song hellos, in came my mother-in-law to my candle-lit world built for two.  All decked out in clinking gold bangles and earrings, she was a vision of colors.  A petite old lady with a red bindi on her forehead and a long white braid, she wore her special occasion silver and peacock blue sari, pleated expertly over her shoulder.  She smiled at me and said in her broken English accent,

“Happy anniversary!”  Then, glancing around with general disapproval in her eyes, asked pointedly, “When will Ajay be home?”   

My sultry lips dropped open in horror.

What do you think happens next?  Leave a comment…


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