Sunday, May 03, 2009

Love and Might

Love and Might

She walked through the kitchen on bare feet in the middle of the night searching for the knife in the dark. She touched the blade of the chef's knife and slid it back down into the block. She touched the blade of the bread knife and pulled it all the way out.

The open refrigerator illuminated the dark kitchen, its blue light bouncing off of the hard, shiny, concrete floor. In many parts of the world, the blinding blur of all of this electric would take on the glow of a metaphysical revelation: a miracle.

A sun inside of an ice cold box.

She pulled out the rest of the chocolate cake and cut a thin slice before bisecting that same slice into two pieces of sugary architecture that she could pick up with her fingers. She touched the side of the decanter and then poured the still-warm-enough coffee into the mug. The entire nation of Ethiopia rose and roared from the ceramic bowl. Hailie Sallassie prayed to his great, great grandfather - old Solomon himself - while the coffee wafted from the bowl in waves of wisdom and bitterness alike.

She slid back the door. The light, white curtains blew in, taking the shape of the night air. She tugged her short robe together at her chest and sat on the sleek white chair overlooking the avenue and the intersection at the boulevard down the block. The streets were quiet, the occasional car whispering to itself as it slid by seven floors down.

She broke the first, small piece of the moist, dark cake and dipped it into the coffee making sure to get as much of the bitter, black liquid into the cake before it became too full and broke of into the cup in soggy defeat. She held the cup near her mouth as she sucked the chocolate in.

Some scientists say that chocolate stimulates a woman's brain in a way that replicates the experience of falling in love. White people first had the privilege of tasting chocolate after the Spanish conquered the Aztecs. The Europeans in their desperation for love enslaved the Mesoamericans on cocoa plantations so that women a world away could pour the dark liquid into their powdered faces. The brown people in South America had been given the gift of the cocoa bean by Quetzalcoatl, the great, feathered deity who had been banished from heaven for sharing the Food of the Gods with mortal men. It seems the people themselves were also banished from Heaven within the boundaries of their own land, and that the Gods -everywhere- favor might over love.

She left the second piece of cake on the saucer, on the steel table next to the sleek chair and held the mug in her hands, warming her pink palms as the chocolate mellowed her expression into a somnambulant gaze focused on some distant desire. She rushed back into her own eyes when she heard the crash.

She could make out one of the cars - on the far side of the boulevard - and could see some kind of steam or smoke rising from the place where the sound came from. The white plume rose above the shop at the corner of the boulevard and then above date tree glowing green beneath the grey moon before she heard the first voices - desperate, scared and angry - disrupting her perfect love with noise and metal and the sound of an ambulance just now wailing in the distance.

At the very first, mushrooms had been served...They ate no more food; they only drank chocolate during the night. And they ate the mushrooms with honey. When the mushrooms took effect on them, then they danced, then they wept. But some, while still in command of their senses, entered and sat there by the house on their seats; they did no more, but only sat there nodding.


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Joe Nolan

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