First Time Tasting by Frank Jackson
For breakfast, I take a bite of oatmeal and let it sit in the corner of my cheek. I try to swallow on my own but nothing happens. I take a drink of water and gush it down. The pain of nausea is sharp and sits momentarily but eventually it passes.
I read the morning paper. Something I did once upon a time. Fighting with my dad over where the Sports page was and who had it last. Today the paper is saying the Browns actually have a shot at the playoffs. I read up on the players. The new coach. The hot young quarterback. The bright future ahead.
For dinner, my wife makes a sweet-smelling ginger flavored chicken soup but I’m halfway through eating it when I have to run to the bathroom. I turn the shower on to drown out the sound of heaves.
I walk out and try my best attempt at a casual return. She is sympathetic. She is always sympathetic and puts a soft hand on my shoulder rubbing it gently.
Later, we watch a rom-com, one of the latest put on Netflix and recommended for us.
“What’s that you’re eating?” I ask.
She shows it to me. “It’s key lime pie.”
“Is it good?”
“You’ve never had key lime pie?”
“One of the things I never got around to.”
She smiles and cuts a little piece off and feeds it to me.
It’s my first time tasting it so I take my time and explore every bit of it.
“That is delicious,” I say.
“You really like it?”
“It’s amazing. We’re a key lime pie couple now.”
It was the type of thing we used to say when we wanted to remember something.
We’re a Saturday matinee couple now.
We’re a mezcal-cocktail couple now.
We’re a Washington Square Park couple now.
We’re a Frank’s Hot Sauce couple now.
We’re a loaded nachos couple now.
We’re a Rockaway beach couple now.
We’re a Sunday morning coffee couple now.
We’re a two different types of gelato and you share half with the other couple now.
We’re a key lime pie couple now.
She fed me another bite and I took it. The pleasure of her smile as I enjoyed it was giving me life.
Frank Jackson is a writer living in Brooklyn, with stories published in journals including X-R-A-Y, Shabby Doll House, The Bookends Review, and Metatron. He is the recipient of the Montgomery Culver Award from the University of Pittsburgh and nominated for a Pushcart Prize by Four Chamber Press. Twitter: @Frankerson