I made the ex come and watch me.
I pulled out weeds with the chard, hacked down the basil plants and the fennel, and wrenched the tomato plants from the earth. The squash plants, mine and my neighbors', had grown so monstrous that I had no idea which spiny tentacles belonged to my squash and which were theirs. What fell upon my plot I ripped up and carried over my head to the compost pile, a vegetal Medusa with a grim will.
He still wants to be in my life despite the fact that he ruined it. Despite the fact that in two weeks he'll literally be living on the other side of the planet. What could I say? He picks the yellow tomatoes off the vine and pours them like treasures into my hands, but what am I supposed to do with them? I'm sick of grape tomatoes. I want more.
So, I distract myself. Today, I'm cooking a few things, using up as much stuff as I can. First, I started up a pot of Cuban Black Bean Soup from Daisy Martinez's cookbook, Latin Flavors that will Rock your World. I just put in the habenero, and I accidentally touched my fingers to my mouth, so now my lips are all tingly from the capsaicin. I don't think it's an unpleasant feeling. I must be getting used to the sensation of pain. Out of the oven, I just pulled out something like a tartine with chard, egg and cottage cheese in a brown rice "crust." In the works is a Szechuan Eggplant-Tofu Stir-Fry, a salad, a tabbouleh with quinoa, and some roasted beets. Additionally, I have two butternut squash, a pumpkin and a gigantic squash of unknown variety that need to be dealt with. I'm considering a winter squash-miso soup. Not sure if that will be good or if it will be terrible, but uncertainty is a common harvest for gardeners. So much bounty. I know I should be grateful, but I can't help the niggling feeling that somehow it's all going to waste.
I gave him back his bathing suit and some other personal items. I returned to him the large Hershey's Kiss that he gave to me quite some time ago. I said, "You gave this to me while I was on a cleanse [I didn't tell him that even then I instinctively knew that it was a guilt-gift]. I didn't eat it, and then all this shit happened, so I didn't eat it because I was saving it for a time when things got better, but things never got better, so here it is." I had made a ritual sacrifice out of that piece of chocolate, denying myself the pleasure of it, so that when I actually did eat it, it would be the sweetest thing I had ever eaten.
He almost didn't take it. "You should have it. You should take it," he practically begged me to take it back. He just didn't want it to mean what it meant, and if I took it back, he could play pretend (some more). I had so few words. I just said, "No. I don't want it anymore." But is that true? When he hugged me, I was distinctly aware of how much I wanted and wanted.
I knew that if I tried to give him back the FOUR signed Lydia Bastianich cookbooks that he'd given to me recently [another guilt-gift] that I would have been going too far. Kicking a man when he's down. Chucking fresh food upon a compost pile. So, I still have them. They're in my car, but I'm afraid for anyone to know that I still have them. Afraid that they'll think I capitulated to him and didn't stand my ground. Which is true, I suppose.
But am I not supposed to satisfy any desire? He gets to be feted and sent off on his adventures with a grand party and the good wishes of all his friends (who used to be my friends). It makes me want to choke -- the only feast he should be getting is one that ends with a wicker man. Okay, I know that's too much, but I'm full of bitterness, dark and green. I will try to eat all the food I've gathered, making sure to freeze and dry and save as much as I can.
Traveling a path of sacrifice, we eat only our own famine, our own desire.