vendredi 26 février 2010

Signs

0.23 euro free-range hen's eggs


The other morning, before time sped up and left me hopelessly behind myself, until the snow began to fall, and fall, and fall, and the wind began to blow, and blow, and blow yesterday, I removed two free-range hen's eggs from the recycled cardboard container I take back to the grocery store when it's empty and I need more eggs, and I cracked the first one open, egg white slipping out of the crack and into the bowl my husband's eldest daughter painted with blue and black somewhat blurry penguins and offered to him one Father's Day, years ago.

"C'était encore un projet d'école raté," he said, sounding bitter, the other day, seeing the bowl on the kitchen counter, where I was preparing a previous morning's scrambled eggs with coriander and soy milk.

"Mais! C'est pas très gentil de dire ça d'un cadeau de la part de ta fille," I admonished him, as delicately as I could. It was a sore spot, clearly.

"J'ai toujours eu les projets ratés," he said. "Sa mère gardait toujours les meilleurs pour elle-même et ce qui n'a pas été réussit était bon pour son père."

Definitely bitter, with reason. I understood. It wasn't a very nice message to send to their daughter: keep the best for ourselves, and what didn't turn out so well, well, that would make a present for ton père. I think about that every time I use this little bowl for my morning eggs. Another thing that doesn't bring joy, but that you can't throw away, either.

I was thinking about that when the yolk dropped into the puddle of whites at the bottom of the bowl, followed by a second "plop". I looked into the bowl from wherever I had been letting my gaze drift. Probably the food splatters on the front of the microwave that hasn't been working very well of late. Another yolk. I called to my husband, where he was incommoded.

"Hé! Tu sais quoi?"

"Quoi?"

"Je viens d'avoir un ouef avec deux jaunes! C'est rare," I called across the living room and through the closed door to the smallest space in the house, near the rubble room.

"Ca va t'apporter chance," came his voice, crystal clear despite 2" of wood.

"Oui," I nodded, audibly, and returned to cracking the second egg and cutting the coriander with the scissors I keep in the kitchen drawer, so they will never be lost. No one ever goes into that drawer but me. No one ever cooks anything that needs utensils except me.

Alright, so my husband puts the utensils he has just dried for me back in there, but.

Then, I got the idea to take a picture of my double egg yolk. My husband came up behind me and laughed.

"Tu les prends en photo?"

"Oui, puisque c'est rare."

"Mais, avec les deux ouefs, ça a l'aire d'être trois oeufs." Now, why did he have to point out that having broken the second egg and dropped it contents into the bowl, it looked like three eggs? I knew that. I knew I should have removed the second egg's single yolk, but. "Bon, ça fait deux signes quand même."

Two signs. He was talking about the first one, the one just before I opened the first egg, when I called through the door to read him a text message that had just arrived from an Orange Internet technical support guy in Tunis, who helped me back during the earlier months of the 2008 presidential campaign, and who has been sending me messages now and then, mostly on major holidays, ever since. The text message read as follows:

Good morning, je vous envoie le soleil et la douceur de la Tunisie parfumé avec l'odeur de jasmin, je vous souhaite une bonne journée et bonne santé. Oh happy day.

He signed it "Larry King Live Tunis Mohammad".

He changes how he signs from time to time. Larry King Live being the most common one. The first time I had him on the phone to figure out what was going on with our Internet connection, he guessed I was English-speaking, asked my country of birth, and gushed that he watches Larry King Live regularly from Tunis to work on his English. He is a student, and he was thrilled about the chances Obama appeared to have to be elected president. Mohammad is his real first name.

"Et tu sais pourquoi ils sont venus aujourd'hui, non?" I shook my head. "La date. Quelle est la date aujourd'hui?"

"Le 22."

"Oui. Le jour nous sommes retrouvés à Chamonix," he smiled at me and leaned down to give me a sweet, innocent kiss on the lips.

I am sure I blushed. I know I smiled. The 22nd of February, 2001. It will always be a date more important to him than our wedding anniversary could ever hope to be, the evening I had him sent up to our room in Chamonix and opened to see him smiling through a blush as red as the tulips I brought back from the grocery store for him later that night. Like little blood red hearts on tall curved stems.

"C'est le monde à l'inverse," he said to me when I handed him the bunch, "et c'est dommage que tu ne serais pas là pour en profiter d'eux avec moi."

Not really. They were to make him think of me, and my blood red heart, while I was gone, returned to Chamonix like every February since. Double egg yolks, blood red tulip hearts, the sun and the sweetness from Tunis, scented with jasmin, love found and claimed. Oh happy day.
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