Otis Redding was singing about change is coming while I was contemplating the art of keeping toasted bread crunchy in a tomato and mozzarella salad. Otis managed to see no be a part of the change he was singing about. Crunchy bread was clearly a long long way off in my kind. I couldn’t wrap my head around how the bread would stay crisp in the midst of the juicy tomatoes, herbs and fresh mozzarella and olive oil. The bread would surely get soggy. Soggy bread was not what I was aiming for and yet I couldn’t see how to avoid it. And that’s when he came in and offered me a flower for my thoughts.
he pulled a face at my taste in music, having forgotten my style in all those passing years. As Otis gave way to Brownie Mcghee signing about a falling in love with a woman being no good, he started to laugh and told me he never thought he’d find me in a kitchen. Certainly not in a kitchen cooking and yet there I stood, barefoot in a kitchen with cooking being exactly what I was doing.
He grinned that know it all grin of his when I explained that it just wasn’t practical to eat out all the time. I also pointed out that I don’t always cook, but when I do, Lordy don’t go messin’ in my kitchen. I waved a wooden spoon at him just to prove the point and felt deeply satisfied when a small slice of onion hit his immaculate dress shirt. And then I snickered, too bad the Laundry Blues wasn’t playing in the background, as it would have been a bit fitting, but not really.
He carefully removed the onion, flicked it in the sink and washed his hands. It seemed appropriate to find out why, after all this time, he felt a need to darken my door. So much had happened, so many changes, no doubt for both of us. I had moved on with living my life, growing and having fun along the way. How had he even managed to find me here was thrown on the table. But he wouldn’t answer those questions unless I invited him to sit and have something to drink. So I did, and thus did he sit down and accept a glass of lemonade while I turned off the music and joined him sitting at the small table.
He told me finding me wasn’t easy, he had to jump through a number of hoops, tracking down friends and acquaintance, researching through academia to find me. It took him over six months to track down the city I was living in, another couple weeks to find the house. A chance encounter with a group of men who listened to his story pointed him not just to the house, but an invitation to go on in. In other words he had stumbled into Beloved who of course would be helpful like that. He said he had come because he needed to know if I had found what I wanted out of life and he didn’t really need me to answer because he could see that I had.
He told me he couldn’t go in carrying the nightmare inside him anymore. The one that had made him the man I once knew and apparently caused so much hurt and anguish for so many innocent people. He said when he realized he needed and even more importantly wanted to change, he discovered he wouldn’t have the time to get everything done that he had wanted to. So he made a list, set priorities and well here he was. Trying to make amends and perhaps receive forgiveness. There weren’t any amends to be made, no forgiveness to struggle for as I had forgiven him a long time ago and moved on with life.
We talked through a few more glasses of lemonade before Beloved came in the house, to over the advice of toasting the bread and letting it cool completely before considering adding it to the salad it and would be fine. He shook Beloved’s hand on the way out, looking a little less older somehow and I watched him walk away from ym door.
Beloved turned on the music, nothing can beat the delta blues for converting words and emotions, before he carried on slicing the onion and heating the oven. Etta James came on, singing At Last, and I knew that Beloved knew the answer, that at last I was satisfied, comfortable and content with my life…happy with him.