Soup

Published: Thursday, 04 February 2016 Written by Gael Thomas

 

 

The harsh June sun blazed down, punishing the earth. Zanna made her way back up Coral Point Hill to her house from Market Square. Dust from the parched road got stuck between her slippers and the soles of her feet as she lazily walked up the hill. She found it amazing how the morning could change so quickly from dewy and cool to dusty and dry afternoon in merely hours. She squinted as she made her way slowly up. She waved quietly and smiled politely to Natalie who was out tactfully hanging some of her sheets out in the sun, going about her daily chores. This quickly reminded Zanna of all the housework she herself had to complete. She chastised herself for being so distracted and quicken her pace. 

Some idling chickens hopped out of her path as she continued up the incline, her skin tingling and sparkling in the heat of the sun. She heard some dogs barking in the distance and adjusted the basket on her head. Her neck began to ache as she started to see the roofs of the houses on the top of the hill. Her house was the last of the small dwellings that lined the street. She gratefully took shelter from the sweltering sun under the mango and zaman trees that sprouted between the houses. Hopping from shadow to shadow, she remembered playing jump rope, hop scotch and jacks under those very trees when she was a little girl. When she arrived near her house, the last of her neighbor, Ma Greg's 15 children, was sitting outside with a small cat on his lap. Ma Greg often referred to the boy playfully as Little Bibby after his grandfather. He was indeed something special brewing. You could see wisdom in his black little eyes. He nodded a solemn greeting as he stared off, past her and past the houses on the opposite side of the street. 

 

She gently pushed open the door of her house. It was cool and quiet. She removed her shoes at the door and went into the kitchen, placing her basket on the table and grabbing an apron so she could commence cooking dinner. She would make Lennon’s favorite soup but she had to make sure that it was just right. She blinked quickly as her eyes still adjusted to the dim light in the house. Zanna switched on the radio and opened the swinging door in the kitchen. Warm breeze flowed in and Zanna smiled as she heard a familiar song come on. Music filled her with a joy that almost hurt. She opened her mouth and let it out, singing at the top of her voice, letting the happiness the music brought her spiral out as she twirled about dicing vegetables from the basket, boiling water and seasoning meat all while dancing, humming and singing around the kitchen. The afternoon stubbornly battled with evening. The orange glow of the sun filtered in through the windows and Zanna stood in the kitchen, gazing at the dust specks that danced haphazardly in the light. She could see the fire under the pot of bubbling soup dance aggressively. Suddenly, she heard a thump and the fire disappeared. The gas had run out.

At that same moment, Lennon strode into the house. 

“Where my dinner, Zanna?”

“Ahmm…Len, good afternoon. How was your day?” she said straightening her posture and nervously glancing at the pot of uncooked soup on the stove. Lennon walked over to her, striding as usual; long, bold, dominating steps. He placed one hand softly on the side of her face and smiled down at her gently. She flinched. 

“That wasn’t the question Zanna.” He said through clenched teeth. Zanna closed her eyes and held her breath as the putrid smell of alcohol hit her in the face. Some spit fell on her cheek. She glanced at the pot and his eyes followed her gaze and he strode over and looked into the pot of salted water and floating vegetables.

“This is what you’ve done for the day? Just this?” He chuckled to himself shaking his head and then suddenly grunted in frustration flipping the pot over. The soup Zanna had so lovingly tried to make gently trickled to the floor. The pot swayed back and forth. His head turned to her.

“Baby,” he held her neck and squeezed it with his large hand just past the point of comfort, “I love you plenty, you know. Why you have to disappoint me like this? I was looking forward to having dinner with you tonight. You spoiled everything. Just wasting my blasted time.” Zanna tried to swallow. She could barely hear what he was saying over the pounding of her own heart in her ears. 

 

“You’re just like the others.” Lennon spat out, shoving her back as he released her. She tumbled over and landed in the warm semi-cooked soup on the floor

Suddenly quiet, Lennon began walking back out of the house, “I’m really in the mood anymore. I’ll see you tomorrow. ”

Zanna sat in the soup, her heart wanting her to run after Lennon and tell him that she would try to do better but her mind was looking down on her asking her how it was she could still love him. Why couldn’t she just leave him and forget. 

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