12 Feb 2021

Writing on Wednesdays. Lunchtime in the UK.

She hated the way he scraped the spoon on his plate.
The sound was loud in her mind as they ate in silence. Over the last decade of her marriage it seemed to be getting louder. She made a mental note of looking online for scrape-free or scrape-resistant crockery or cutlery-that-didn’t-make-a-sound. Was there even something like that?

She had wandered into the territory of no-thought-is-unwelcome and every-thought-leads-to-another. That was a good place to be in. Every scrape was equivalent to a dash between her words. She’d perfected this to an art. The thirteen-years-of-marriage-can-change-you phenomenon. Or you-can change-yourself. With dashes. Especially when you had to sit and have lunch in the middle of being in the thoughts-lead-to-solutions-to-problems landscape.

Something as innocuous as I-met-June-at-the-grocery-store had dashes. She even named her dishes that way. Today was paprika-flash-in-the-pan-potatoes. She was never sure how they’d turn out. Today they seemed to taste good.

She knew dashes was not the right way to write.

Maybe a writing workshop would help. The one she had found online seemed perfect. And it was on Wednesday afternoons. Except that Wednesday afternoons, he came home for lunch. The lunch-that-was-too-be-on-the-table-at-one. Sharp.
Guess food was important. But, argued her thoughts, food-for-thought was important-er. She laughed inwardly at her own joke. Her outward demeanour remained solemn.

And then she heard the scraping of the spoon on the plate. The potatoes were hot that evening. Hot as in spicy-red-cayenne-pepper-kashmiri-chilli hot.

“The potatoes are excellent today”, he remarked.

She knew he meant it. He was now cleaning the plate with his fingers. Thankfully that didn’t make a sound and she could go back to thinking with her dashes.

“Thanks. Soniyaa sent fresh Kashmiri chillies today”, she offered.


More fingers doing the work. A frown crept over his face. She was sure he was trying to place Soniyaa. And couldn’t. And couldn’t ask her either.

Should she tell him now?

She knew he was a stickler for time. Lunch had to be at 1 pm.

“Er…”, she started but couldn’t find the words. With or without dashes. This writing workshop had to help. Had-absolutely-to-help.

He didn’t notice that she wanted to say something. He was now examining his fingers to see if there were any traces of those legendary Kashmiri chillies. He found one and carefully licked it. Smacked his lips and began.

“Oh yes… wanted to tell you that our weekly meetings have shifted.”

Her heart sank. Was her writing workshop to be sacrificed at the altar of a shifting-weekly-meeting?

The dashes were back. In a strange way she was relieved.

He continued. “To Wednesdays.”

She couldn’t have heard this right.

“Wednesdays? Did you say Wednesday?”

“Yes. The day between Tuesday and Thursday?”

Sarcasm. As jarring as the scraping-of-the-spoon-on-the-plate.

“So I won’t be back home for lunch. At least for the next 3 months. Till it changes again.”

She nodded. As if in acquiescence.

“I’ll manage” she said, absently.

She scraped the potatoes off the plate now. The flavour was rich red and aromatic. She was dancing inwardly. Doing the jig-you-do-when-you-dance-happily-even-when-you-don’t-know-how-to-dance.

He pushed his chair back and got up.

“Okay. I’ll be off now. I’ve to make a dash to the office before the meeting.”

She smiled and nodded. She was already off to the next task.

Enrol-now-or-forever-lose-out, her inner writer cried out as she pounded away on the keyboard!


Want to know more about My Alchemy?

My Alchemy: the online writing workshop.
New batches starting on 17th March 2021.
For more information, write to me at alchemy@abacusyellow.com