The Dance

Something different for you, whipped up like a Rachael Ray 30 minute meal.  Note: only slightly based on real-life events. Slightly!!

How did it come to this?? She wondered to herself, peering through the quaint window between the dining area and the kitchen counter.  Sweat threatened to drip onto the countertop, but she unconsciously wiped her forehead with the back of her hand, resting it once more on the dining table beside her.  She refused to let her heart palpitations drown out the logic and rational thought that was straining to be heard.  But logic was up against a very formidable foe—a crippling foe that wrought anxiety, fear, and near paralysis of mind and body.

There was a bug in her kitchen.

On the ceiling no less, just daring to plummet onto her head, down her shirt, or—heaven forbid!—into the dinner she was currently cooking.

It only took a few minutes for her waning resolve to crumble completely under the weight of those fragile tiny legs slowly skittering towards the long halogen light fixture in the center of the kitchen-turned-dungeon-of-mental-torture, and she quickly found herself peeking from the dining room through the window now, her head floating above the messy countertop cluttered with spices, chopped vegetables, and Oh drat! Weren’t those onions supposed to have been added already to the pan??

Certainly this was not how she had planned to prepare her special feast, special for no other reason than it was her one desire for the day.  But this would not deter her, she would complete this dinner, she would!  And so commenced option one: work through the window.

It served fruitful at first, as most of her measuring spoons and spatulas were laid out on the counter already, and the stove was directly next to the suddenly extremely useful opening into the kitchen.  A teaspoon of chili powder? Check.  Mix the chopped peppers into the stir fry?  Easy!  Every stir of the pan relieved her of more anxiety, and her frantic eyes were all that belied the nerves that wrung themselves ragged inside.  In 2 minutes time she established a rhythm, further lulling her senses.  Add a spice, glance up, stir, glance up, taste test, glance up, repeat… Hopefully this would entirely calm her wailing heart that continued to threaten to be consumed by her churning stomach.

As for the bug, leaf-like and crispy, it had also decided to formulate a routine itself, constantly circling round and round the rectangular light fixture.  Bugs are so weird she decided as she continued her routine, reaching now for the soy sauce… which wasn’t there.

Oh no.  it was still in the fridge.  On the other side of the kitchen.  As far from her grasp as possible.  And firmly within the now claimed territory of the devil incarnate planted on her ceiling.  But there was nothing for it but to enter enemy territory and claim what was once hers.

Five minutes and tons of useless meditative breaths later, she crouched slowly into the war zone, assessing her enemy’s position—good, on the left of the light, nowhere near the right side above the pathway to the fridge.  She lunged for the black door, whipped it open, grabbed her target and scurried back out, one eye always planted on the bug’s whereabouts.  Having decided to reclaim her kitchen, she couldn’t just resort back to the window, though the guttural echoes within tried to convince her otherwise.  And so, she watched the bug, ah yes it was no circling round to the right side of the light, as far from the stove’s arena as she could hope for, and her opening to slink in and start comfortably cooking once more.

With this, the dance begun.  She slunk in and out with the same stealth as her ceiling counterpart, watching its every move, trying to ignore the subtle tapping of its legs on the wall, every step imprinting itself as goose bumps.  Routine once again formed, and she felt a near estranged camaraderie with the creature, its kindly nature rounding the bend toward the right whenever she needed to reach the stove, and turning back toward the left whenever a venture to a cupboard or the refrigerator was in order.  Nothing to fear then, just another of the universe’s creatures looking for some simple amusement in life.

She chuckled at her ridiculous reaction earlier, shaking her head at the strange image she must have painted, akin to absurdist culinary methods.  In hindsight she should have known better, for allowing her fears NOT to get the better of her any longer.  Lesson learned, because as she looked up, to ensure the crunchy critter was fully around the light and away from her, she was caught like a deer in headlights with the realization that it had dared to turn, to retreat, and to be no less then directly above her unsuspecting head!

Residents still speak of the blood curdling scream, some with amusement, others in perplexity. The neighbors next the apt B3 soon learned of its origin, and laughed heartily at the poor girl.  But others would forever wonder what could have elicited such raw, electric force from a single girl’s throat.  It will never be known whether the bug decided to fall because of her scream, or if she yelled because of its descent, but a second later her husband, only just returned from work, bore witness to the scream and the flailing body that erupted from the kitchen and skidded across the carpet into the far wall, panting with fierce agitation.  He could barely comprehend the sudden event until he noticed on the kitchen floor, slowly trotting to the glass patio door, a harmless insect no larger than a nickel.

“Not again, really?  It’s just a junebug…”

She glared at him in defiance, willing herself not to check that the damned bug wasn’t coming into the living room.  Blast it, she checked, and her husband laughed some more, before heading to the kitchen and sampling her veggie stir fry and sweet and sour shrimp.  “At least you didn’t spill the salt into the pan this time in your panic–that’s an improvement!”

She could only glare some more.


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