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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Out of the frying pan...

I stood staring at the brown syrup in front of me, wondering how on earth I could screw up cranberry sauce. I’d watched my mother make Thanksgiving dinner a hundred times without breaking a sweat; how I wished she was coming tonight instead of my snooty in-laws. I squared my shoulders with resolve and tossed the whole dish, bowl and all, in the garbage. I proceeded to chop carrots for the garnish around the turkey. I could picture the masterpiece of the presentation in my mind, and it was perfect.

I must have lost my focus in my reverie. The knife slipped. I let out one shriek, both in horror and in pain as I stared at the little piece of my finger carefully sliced along with the carrots. I wrapped the tip of my bleeding finger with paper towel and threw out the blood-coated carrots. I carefully put the severed bit in the freezer, as I’d seen them do on some television shows.

Panic tried to set in. I shooed it away with a few deep breaths, straightened my apron and checked my hair again before approaching the steaming potatoes on the stove. They were ready and they were perfect. I drained them from the water, careful not to let the steam frizz up my hair or cause my makeup to leak. I returned them to the pot, adding the precise amount of butter and milk and began mashing. The mundane task allowed me to fantasize about how my mother-in-law would gush over this perfect meal. Perhaps now she would find me to be a suitable match for her son.

My face contorted into a mask of terror as I looked in the pot to see the mashed potatoes were distinctively pink. I blinked twice, hoping that I was seeing things, but there it was; pink mashed potatoes. It was moments before I realized that my own bloody finger was the culprit. I had bled right through the paper towel which was now dangling precariously from the stubby end of my severed finger.

I swallowed back bile and forced myself to walk, not run, to the bathroom to do a better job of bandaging. I couldn’t very well serve a beautiful meal with my body fluids pouring into the dishes.

With the new bandage in place, I began heading back into the kitchen. I glanced at my reflection in the mirror on the way through hall. I fixed a strand of hair that had strayed from my perfect coif before noticing I’d become rather pale. I was attempting to convince myself it was poor lighting when the fire alarm caused me to practically jump out of my skin. I ran to the kitchen to see flames licking the wall behind the stove through a cloud of gray smoke. It was at that moment, that I heard my mother-in-law’s voice holler “We’re heeeeere!”

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