The Kitchen is the only part of the house which is cleaned Twice- Daily. Not top to bottom. But the Basics- the cooking area, the sink, they need to be clean.
It was because
She... was coming over for dinner.
In the past, he had called her over so many times. Every time she had an excuse. The first time he had invited her to his place, she said she had to do her laundry. That was six months ago.
Their relationship has developed quite a lot from then.
They work together. Seven months ago, when he asked her for tea, she had replied "colleagues are not allowed to date here". They did go for tea, and she paid for her cup, he paid for his. The conversations made them feel the jolt of "Love" at first sight.
They had indeed signed a contract which said they were not to date colleagues. The reason being that it reduced efficiency at work. This made their plight more interesting.
It started like any other love affair. Phone conversations. They would talk for hours on the phone. About everything. Life, culture, family, society, love, plans. They found so many things in common and so many uncommon yet fascinating elements in their lives.
By day, they were office goers, colleagues, strangers to the unknown eye, and by night secret admirer of each other. And after a few months the attraction developed into what both of them believed to be love.
In the office, They could only steal a look at each other in the meeting room, in the cafeteria. But whenever they were sure they were all alone, they would chance a kiss, or two. They had their usual spots in the office. The elevator, the car park, and once even in the men's room... when both of them were working late. But nothing went beyond kisses and hugs. They could not risk being caught violating office rules. For both of them, the Secrecy, fear, made the love affair more exciting.
Today she was coming over to his place. For the first time. And no one in the office knew about this. This thought had made him so excited that he sliced some meat off his forefinger while cutting carrots.
The knife was sharp. All his knives were sharp. And he had all kinds of knives. Knives, frying pans, cooking pots he had every specific kitchen gadget available in the market. And the collection of spices from normal cumin, fennel, chili, oregano, to very odd sounding Pimpinella anisum,
Foeniculum vulgare, Piper nigrum.... would make any housewife envy of this kitchen.
He is a good cook. That is his pride. His Passion. That is his love. He has a small library of cook books in his kitchen. French, Indian, Italian, Chinese, Newari, Thakali.... everything is there. Today he has something else in mind. Something unpublished. Something original. Something special. Because She was coming over. He lighted the stove and worked his magic... and let the stove on for a while.
And wine. The perfect red wine. "Cabernet Sauvignon" Year 1975. He never knew how or where to buy wines. This was a gift to him from his father who was the real wine lover.
The bell rang.
"Oh my god she is here." he thought. He went to the door, without taking off his kitchen apron which said, 'SALUTE CAPTAIN COOK'.
When he opened the door, he was flabbergasted. She was beautiful. She looked at him, smiled and said,"This is not really a formal event you know!!." Making a pun at his kitchen apron, She came in. And she gave him her coat which exposed her dress.
She was wearing a sleeveless, knee length, light blue gown. The slevelessness gave away her beautiful bosoms while the light blue-ness gave away her stunning figure.
"You umm... hah" He was lost for words. He tried to recollect himself. He wanted to hit himself on his head for acting so stupid with someone so close.
"You look great.. very prett..." She kissed him, covering his mouth, capturing his tongue before the word Pretty could escape from it. He kissed her back. They were lost in each other. They were not in the office, they didn't have to hurry. So, She had started to breathe very heavily now. He pulled back unlocking the kiss. "Wait..." he said, "The KITCHEN!!".
He literally ran towards the kitchen.
It took her a moment to come back to earth. She sat down. She looked around. Her breathing started coming back to normal. She was in the living room. There were pictures on the table. She looked at his parent's pictures, his dog's, she picked up his picture frame. "Wine?". She was startled.
"What?" he said. Shakes her head,"Nothing".
"Come on inside. We start with wine and cheese" he invites her into his kitchen.
She went inside and looked around in awe. It was the most beautiful thing she had ever seen. She prided herself to be a good cook. But when she looked around, saw the appliances, the spices, the cookbooks, she knew she would feel very inferior if she talked about food.
The wine was already poured... he gave her the bottle. 1975 the year. The wine was 10 years older than her. He said "drink up... The first glass is without cheese."
It tasted sweet. She had always thought old wines equals more alcohol equals worse taste, but this was different. She finished her glass. He poured her a second glass.
He gave her some cheese.
"Put this whole slice inside your mouth, chew everything, and then rinse the whole lot with the wine". She did as she was told, the cheese didn't taste so good at first, but the wonderful taste of the wine, made everything better.
He poured himself some wine before asking her.
She declined. "Are you trying to get me drunk?"
"No, I've Already Poisoned you" he said.
"Yeah. Someone like You would risk ruining this old wine? Why are you Drinking it then?" She asked.
"Not the wine honey." He took a sip of the wine. "The Cheese".
"Ha Ha Ha... Clever". She Laughed.
"Yeah, That's why I told you to put the whole thing in your mouth and chew.... The sedatives would take a lot of time to work if you had eaten the cheese in small proportions. And see.... the wine helps to rinse the sedative's bad taste off, in the end, you're just left with the good taste of the wine." He explained finishing his wine and pouring some more. "You sure you don't want any?"
"You win Captain Cook. You Poisoned me, please pour me some wine, and I am having the cheese". That was her attempt at being funny.
She knows he is kidding. She trusts him too much. She repeats the same action. She picks up the remaining cheese from the table, the whole lot, and put it inside her mouth- a whole mouth full with her cheeks ballooning out, chews it, takes in the bad taste, and the rinses her mouth with wine. And swallows everything. This time however, she starts feeling a bit tipsy,"Ooh.. I think the wine is getting to me" She says.
"Its the sedative honey. Not the wine." he says now turning his back to her and working in the kitchen.
"Ow.. Quit Kidding. Its getting really boring now". She changes her tone a bit.
He turns back to her, shaking a knife in his hand, and with a wicked smile, "Don't blame me afterwards".
Quiet. For a while.
Then She speaks.
"What are we having for dinner?"
"Its a surprise."
She loves his surprises. She remembers back when he purposed to her in the photocopy room with a set of diamond earrings. He had also said its a surprise then, and then according to him, the diamond earrings were the secret ingredients.
"What's the secret ingredient?" she asked.
He looks at her and says "YOU, my love".
Flattered. She smiles."No really. Come on... What are we having for dinner honey?".
"I am having you for dinner honey." She was feeling very different. She doesn't remember wine ever giving her such a different high. And for a moment she thought She was hearing things now. Or was in a very funny mood?
She tries to correct him, "You are having me OVER for dinner... honey. What.... " the effects of the wine are really getting to her. old wine. old wine. She closes her eyes and asks "What are we eating?"
That was the last word she heard before she passed out.
It was well planned. Every detail was looked onto. Everything was perfect. The perfect sin. And the perfect place for it. The KITCHEN.
She opened her eyes. She was still in the kitchen. She tries to speak, she cannot. she looks around, her boyfriend, her love, was standing a few feet away, facing the stove.
He turns to see her awake.
"Hey, welcome back".
Her head feels heavy... she wants to hold her head.... She cannot move.
"Honey, you scared me for a while, you ate the whole cheese. I would have stopped you."
She was sitting on a chair. She tries to lift herself from the chair. She cannot. She cannot move. She doesn't feel anything holding her. She tries to speak. She cannot. She cannot speak, her lips are closed, she tries to let out sound from her throat, only an echo of inaudible sound.
"Let me Break some news to you... You cannot move, You cannot speak... You have been poisoned. NO no you wont die, Actually you are paralyzed... "
She can think, blink her eyes move her eyes, but cannot move nor speak.
"You made me wait 7 months for this... 7 months,and all we did was talk and talk and talk and talk... Ok I didn't mind the kissing, but honey... this is more fun. Both my love for Cooking, and you... are together." He turns to his stove.
He had poisoned her NO, He had drugged her. Whatever. She trusted him. She loved him. Now she couldn't move.
"7 months... you know, I can impregnate a girl and maybe have a premature baby by that time.. 7 months, I hate fetuses. I hate the way they smell. Even after washing them over and over and over.... Yuck... but I bet, you would taste great."
'I would taste great?' she blinked her eyes trying to communicate. She wanted to say so much. She wanted to ask why he was doing it. She loved him. He loved her.
"Honey, You see... cooking is not science, or art. Its Logic. Mixing the right kind of spices in right proportions and with the right food. Consider if you must, a goat.....What is the best part of a goat? no no no... not the head... you get great soup from the head, and ears should be burned in fire.. till the carbons turn black... not the belly... the fat doesn't really taste great... and yes, the limbs... not the feet area, the part where the feet ends... the arm muscles and the thigh muslces.. now they taste great..."
Tears rolled down her eyes. She remembers back to romance in office with him. 'Was it all a lie? The things he talked about. Everything was so real. So real.' She still couldn't move or talk.
"Logic also tells us that we should always know our food. I have an upper hand... I actually KNOW you.. You live, You breathe, You feel, And I know your wishes, your plans... I know you.... I knew you already in the first month though. We would have gotten this over with then if you didn't have to do your laundry. But chasing you was fun. The catch is marvelous... and so by knowing you, I know which part I should start with."
She was being eaten. Fear Grabbed her more now. More than the sadness of betrayal.
"You don't do much exercise, so your arms were not much of interest to me... your bosom... is just so... unrealitically big... frankly, I never thought they were real. Yeah.. but you always had the sexist of the thighs...."
She rolled her eyes to her thighs. Without Speaking, Without Moving.
Her transparent dress which she wore for him was torn in the thighs... and she could see blood red... and white... her thigh bone... She could she her femur- the bone that joins the pelvis to the knee... a whole chunk of meat was missing from her right leg.
He begins singing in the worst possible voice "Todaaaaay is a greaaaaat daaaaay... cuz..... boooooth my laaaave are weeeeeth me"....
Tears. Uncontrolled tears. And more tears. She did not feel any pain, she was completely paralyzed. They were just tears coming out of her.