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Creative Nonfiction Contemporary Speculative

It’s difficult preparing a meal for someone you don’t know all that well; actually at all. I met her quite by accident. Well not quite, she ran over me with her bicycle.  It was a nice bike, older Schwinn with balloon tires. Said it was her mother’s when she was herself. I let it go at that.

It wasn’t all her fault, but then of late people on bicycles think they have the same rights as cars, which I get. But then cars don’t usually ride on the side walk. 

Anyways, I was waiting on the corner, looking to see if the bus could be seen anywhere on my horizon, and she comes flying around the corner. I don’t think she even pretended to stop. For all I know it is how she meets people.

I ended up in the street, the bus approaching, and she straddling her bicycle looking down at me as if I was the one at fault. Needless to say I missed the bus, accepted her somewhat insincere apology, and sat on the bench to ascertain the probability that I hadn’t hurt more than my pride. 

I have to admit when I find myself in situations like that one, which is rare you should know, but often enough so that I have developed a routine of sorts. I find it best to sit and attempt a sort of Zen like trick on myself. It is like leaving your body and looking down at the poor soul who is me, and checking for variations to conformity and acuteness of observation. If I find myself studying the cracks in the sidewalk, or the spider that lives in the bus shelter rafters, I know I’m OK and can resume whatever it was I was attempting to do.

It is difficult to do when someone is pestering you about how you feel, “Are you sure you are not hurt? Probably best to sit for awhile until you know you are alright. The usual nonsense people talk to victims about." Too tell you the truth if she would have said anything about hearts and prayers I may have punched her, and I’m not a violent person.

Then, as I was contemplating my escape she places her gloved hand, looked like a golf gloved hand, on my shoulder and tells me she doesn’t live far and that I should come with her until I was sure I was alright. “Breakfast,” she said as more of a command than a question. She didn’t live far, actually she lived above the drug emporium we were sitting in front of. She hoisted the bike onto her shoulder and began the ascent up the stairs. I asked if she needed help and she only laughed.

It was a small apartment with a good view of the street below. “I’ve seen twelve accidents at that intersection just this month. That is why I didn’t see you, I can only assume. I’ve nearly been killed several times, near misses, but all the same only inches from death. It causes one to be more than careful, if you know what I mean.”

I had no idea what she was talking about, but it was fun watching the cars jockey for position as the suspended stop light seemed to have a mind of its own. I’d never seen a flashing green semaphore before.

“Anything you can’t eat? Supposed to eat? Or prefer not to eat?” She had covered all the bases as far as I was concerned, so in my attempt to let the animosity of the morning go, I simply said no. That seemed to make her happy, as she smiled and began to rummage through this refrigerator that appeared to be little bigger than a microwave.

I know from previous experiences that attempting to cook for someone you don’t know can and often is a wasted attempt at chivalry, or whatever it is called when a woman is in a similar situation. Especially difficult when you don’t know the person that well.

You find yourself making all sorts of assumptions about their likes and dislikes, and you know most people are ashamed to tell you they have certain phobias when it comes to food.

Take runny eggs for instance, or overcooked oatmeal. It looks like the glue we used to use in grade school, but you could eat that stuff with very few repercussions.  Over cooked oatmeal on the other hand, can bind you up like you were cocooned in cling wrap, tied to a flag pole in the school yard, and left to the whims of nature.

“Do you drink…” I couldn’t hear the rest of what she was asking. Although the view is great from her window, the noise has a way of burrowing into your head and settling behind your eyes, making thought dissociative.       

It was then I heard the crash. A loud metal on metal distortion of a symphony I once wrote in my head. “You hear that? Another one” she yells across the room, and heads towards a calendar which she places an X next to the date.

“I do not drink and I’m not deaf, so yes I heard the collision.” I tend to get feisty when I feel unappreciated.

I wasn’t watching at the time, so I have no idea whose fault it was, but could offer an opinion based upon the way the cars were arranged in the street had anyone, her, asked.

I would bet the blue car attempted to make a left turn without signaling, and was run into from behind by the gray car. The blue car was pushed into the path of the red car, who being an older example of Americas desire to extravagance, big, and heavy, crumpled the blue cars front while remaining itself intact; barely a scratch.

“You like blue berries?” I am allergic to blue berries, but again because of the constant drone of traffic I didn’t hear her correctly. I thought she asked if I liked bears. Anyone else but her, I might have let it go.

The muffins were good, although I believe honey gives muffins, bread of any sort actually, a more sophisticated flavor than sugar, especially processed sugar. Brown sugar is better, but honey is best.

I could tell after the first few bites that something wasn’t right. My throat began to swell shut, making breathing difficult. The last thing I remember was the table coming at me like a 1956 Buick. The one with the little holes in the front fenders which served no purpose but looked cool.

The next thing I remember is waking up with all these tubes in my arm and nose, and the television telling me it was going to be a scorcher. “Hundred and one” this guy says, pointing to a country I didn’t recognize. 

“Where am I” I ask of the man who has stopped to look directly at me from the TV screen, but it was the man in the next bed who begins to tell me a story about how someone, he didn’t name anyone or infer even, that you shouldn’t attempt to drink, and ride a bicycle through an intersection with a light that is malfunctioning.

The story sounded familiar, and I must admit I couldn’t for the life of me figure out why I was wearing a golf glove.

But I know from past experience that blue berries have magical powers, because they grow in dark damp places where only mosquitos live, and there isn’t much to do to pass the time. So they conjure mysticism from the Sherlock fog that is responsible for their existence and pack it into the berries, where they in their boredom plot revenge against those that eat them.

Life is so often simple, but we work so hard to make it difficult. I can only assume it has something to do with living in close proximity to a bus stop.          

June 27, 2021 00:05

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1 comment

Andrea Magee
10:26 Jul 05, 2021

I really enjoyed reading this s.s.


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