Dinner Menu

by Dorian Maffei

                                                                                Appetizers

Heated Eggplant Dip

You have never raised your voice at me1……………………………………………..……………………………….$4

Crispy Rye Crackers with Asiago Crust

I can tell you want to though2…………………………………………………………………………………………….$2

Tossed Garden Salad with Squash

You put your head in your hands when I start to cry3……………………………….……………………………..$7

Assortment of Artisan Cheeses

We both wonder how this will sort itself out4………………………………………………………………………..$7

With a Side of Cracked-Pepper Chips

Add one shattered plate5……………………………………………………..……………………………………………$3

 

                                                                              Main Courses

Salted Codfish in a Bed of Watercress

And now I’m really crying6………………………………………………………….…………………………………….$16

Cioppino

I don’t even remember what we are fighting about anymore7…………………………………………………$21

Triple-Fried Filet of Sole

Fighting about the same thing never helps8…………………………………………………………………………$17

Tender Pork Loin Braised in a Lemon-Lime Vinaigrette

You don’t touch me at all9…………………………………………………………………………………………………$21

Beer Battered Fish and Chips

Am I really like broken batteries to you?10……………………………………………………………………………$15

 

 

Desserts

Apple Turnover Dressed in a Blue Cheese Crumble

You feel bad you said that to me11…………………………………….………………………………………………..$8

Flan Paired with a Mango BBQ Sauce

I want to cry again and I don’t know why12……………………………………………………………………………$8

 

 

1 But instead, when you’re angry, you use your jaw to clamp your teeth together until you have a headache. You are doing it right now. I can see the muscles in your neck clenching and I have to look away.

2 It’s obvious. You tell me to stop being difficult. I’m offended.

3 I say FUCK and you are pacing around the apartment. Goddamnit. Goddamnit. Goddamnit. Your voice drifts down the hall and I know you’re in the living room. I wait a minute before following you and I find you on our salmon-colored couch staring at the magazine you’ve just thrown. I can tell you threw it because the pages are ruffled and it’s laying face down on the floor in an uncomfortable position.

4 We also both know that it will. But right now it’s not sorted out and it sucks.

5 The one I painted for you at Doodlebug for our first Christmas. I remember when you smiled and hugged me when you opened it. We joked at how overpriced Doodlebug is. I admitted it had cost $15 dollars to paint and we both cracked up. Now, you say sorry for breaking the plate. I say I’m sorry too. But I don’t really mean it because I say it in a tone that says otherwise.

6 I’m crying a lot. I leave the living room and go into the bathroom of our apartment to rinse my face with cold water. I think about how my face is puffing up from crying so much so I gently massage the cold water over my eyelids.

7 So I go back into the living room where you are still sitting on the couch. And you say:

8 It’s true. Fighting about the same things over and over again never helps. It’s true. We’ve had this fight before. Just as I feel our rage melting, I try to explain my side again. I watch as your neck muscles tense and your lips bunch up in anger. You take a deep breath and it bothers me. You make me feel like I’m crazy. And the worst part about it is

9 It makes me really sad. I bring this up. That it’s all I want at this point. Just hug me and we can stop fighting. Show me some affection, please. You’re still angry and you tell me I’m like broken batteries.

10 No.

11 You begin to get up off the couch and I turn away because I’m hurt. We are both exhausted. You wrap me in your arms and say sorry and it sounds sincere this time.

12 I’m happy we stopped fighting, but I’m not satisfied either. I ask you if you want to go out to dinner because I don’t feel like cooking. I go reapply my makeup to hide my red swollen eyes. We barely talk in the car ride over and when we do it’s in whispers. When we are seated they bring us menus. You reach for my hand across the table and I try to take my mind off everything.

 

– Dorian Maffei is currently an undergraduate at UC Santa Cruz studying creative writing. She’s a reader, writer, and most importantly, a cat aficionado. Her latest project in progress is a collection of short stories with a recurring theme of flowers. Follow her on Twitter at @DorianMaffei. 

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4 thoughts on “Dinner Menu

  1. Ahhh! This is fantastic!

  2. Stefan says:

    Very good, reflective piece — unfortunately it’s what’s on the menu for too many couples every night. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Dana T. says:

    Love it. Very original and inventive style.

  4. JERRY says:

    iF ONE OF THE “BEST OFs” DOESN’T PICK THIS UP I WILL BE SURPRISED – ONE OF THE FEW SEEN LATELY THAT MADE ME SAY, “DAMN, WISH I HAD WRITTEN THAT!”

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