The Edge of the Kitchen


“The Last of the Old Kitchens,” by Altair Nouveau


Sundays she goes to see a man, presumably a man, for two hours in the afternoon. When we first ask the identity of this mystery man, she says, “I must go.” When we ask again, she says, “It will humiliate us if I tell you.” Without asking who she means by ‘us,’ we accept as true the risk of critical loss that, if we force it out of her, we will all experience. We let it drop. We take turns cooking. While one of us cooks, the rest of us sit on stools at the edge of the kitchen talking about whatever. Our lives are more boring than hers now. Before the day is done, we must settle-up with Comcast, figure out our rodent problem, skim rough drafts of students’ persuasive essays (wherein they argue for or against an animal Bill of Rights), finish lesson plans for counterargument and rebuttal, and if the strength we now feel holds into the evening, write to her one last time to ask why we see less and less of her with each passing season. Is it really that we’re so nosy? Or is it more generally because we don’t know how to laugh and let our hair down? Along with our hair, have we lost our sense of humor? Grown, as it were, too heady? Let’s face it: unless we instigate our every outing, we must either track her down on social media or grow used to her image as a memory. We miss her take on the world. We’re going to miss her terribly.