Yesterday I received a rather rambunctious guest at home. It was unexpected. I whined and complained, because in the midst of all this chaos, I didn’t want to serve a new person. I didn’t want to listen to her unsolicited advice, her childhood stories, or how long it took for her to travel all the way here.
‘Why did she have to come here?’ was my thought.
But, she was grateful. Grateful because she got to relax in a warm salt water soak for fifteen minutes. Grateful because my partner carried her home and helped her clean up. Grateful because she could enjoy a box of peas and a cup of coconut. Grateful because she could stay with us, and would happily die if she wanted to, under the safety of a roof and the warmth of a house. She rolled over the checkered towel, and dried herself in the sun that fell on our living room parquet through the louvered slats. She peeled the first layer of her clothing, tossed it in our bin, and pointed out that the weather inside the apartment was warm. She shook herself to let all the water out of her . We served her some schezwan rice, fried with harissa and tiny rounds of green spring onions peppered on them.
She put the plate down and demanded a glass of wine. K and I looked at each other. We had one last wine bottle left– we were saving it for my birthday. Or any other happy day in the month, or, if we survived the lockdown. My stomach roiled, partly out of hunger, but mostly out of the anxiety of having to deal with a rambunctious guest who usually got boisterous after a couple of drinks.
K, a generous, kind and affectionate person who would go to great lengths to make sure his guests were comfortable, gestured her to our minibar. ‘Please go ahead. There’s one left. All yours.’ I shifted uncomfortably on my seat, embarrassed by his reaction and angry, for being nice all the goddamn time.
She rolled over to the minibar and in an instant, knocked the bottle and broke it down to pieces.
‘You fucking cabbage!!!!’ I shout in rage, my PMS overtaking my ability to think straight, forget about thinking at all.
The cabbage lay there, half of it shred on my chopping board, and the other half of it over the broken shards of the bottle – the wine dripping on my recently mopped parquet.
She was, as I mentioned earlier, a rambunctious guest.