“Ouch!” Lea had accidentally cut her finger while slicing carrots for her salad on her brand new Mandolin slicer…She was super excited as now she could have the perfect juliennes for her salads – a couple of swift sweeping motions up and down and there they were – perfectly uniform veggies…She had gotten a little too enthusiastic with the slicer that day and the gaping gash on her thumb didn’t look very pretty…She stuck her thumb in between her teeth and with her tongue slowly and gently applied soft pressure on the wound to stop the blood that seemed to flow nonstop like water from a broken faucet.
With her thumb properly tended to and bandaged she moved on to stir the lamb that was stewing on the stove…The rich aroma of the spices wafted through her kitchen – ‘Lamb Tagine’ – Tom’s favorite! Lea and Tom had been married for two years now and Valentine’s Day was an important milestone in their journey of togetherness, as it was on a Valentines day three years ago that Tom had popped that very important question that would change their lives forever.
With her lamb cooking, her bread rolls ready and out of the oven and her salads tossed and dressed to perfection she began laying the table. She took out her vintage lace linens which were a family heirloom – each piece was specially hand made by her great grandmother and it was her gift to her on their wedding day.
The table looked lovely when she was done – with her candles lit and rose petals delicately and tastefully strewn all around. At the center of the table, she placed a beautiful china bowl with chocolate covered strawberries.
“Hi honey!” She said, turning to Tom who was by now seated and ready at the other end of the table.
“I cooked your favorite lamb” she said and placed a plate of the Michelin star worthy tagine in front of him. She was always one for keeping up appearances both in her private life and among friends and she prided herself on her cooking and presented every dish like it was a work of art.
“Remember the Valentine’s day after we had first met, Tom? You sent me a box of my favorite chocolates and a violinist in the middle of my meeting at work…I still remember the jealous looks all my co workers were giving me…especially Doreen…oh!..You totally took me by surprise.”
“More bread?” She asked and moved the bread basket closer to Tom’s side of the table…”That was the night of our first kiss…I remember it like it was yesterday, you were so nervous…It was beautiful” she glanced up at Tom and then reached out for the strawberries..”mmm delicious” she loved the combination of the chocolate and the strawberries – the silky smooth taste of the chocolate mingled with the fresh juicy bitter sweet explosion of flavors from the strawberry – like a love story just erupted in her mouth.
She picked up the plates and began clearing the table. As she picked up Tom’s plate she bent down and kissed him on the cheek,
“I love you.” she whispered into his ear.
It was a beautiful Saturday night and as she did the dishes, she looked out her kitchen window, she could see a single bright star shining in the night sky. Having cleaned the kitchen she decided to do some reading in the living room.
“Good night Tom…Happy Valentine’s Day…I wish you had never cheated on me.”
Tom sat there at the dining table his face ashen and a shade of bluish grey, one of his eyes was no longer in its socket and the other – on the verge of falling out.His body was putrid and bloated and in the solo beam of moonlight that streamed in through the gap between the curtains on the kitchen window you could see a bullet mark right through his heart.