The tuna loaf

It was the only time we ate mayonnaise. That jar in the remotest corner of the fridge flanked by salty capers, the creamy texture yellowed and hardened around the brim. Finally, it seemed to exhale when my mother took it out.
My nose right up over the table, peering over the wood surface, because there was no odor anticipating it, only the bzzz of the kitchen robot that had called me from my bedroom. Because its smell was so muffled, like it was the beige of its color, like it was the white cloth, boiled, which covered it, hiding it until a vapor cloud, like a breath of relief, came out from the corners that the fingers of my mother gently unfolded.
“Are you making the tuna loaf?” I then asked her almost in one breath.
And she nodded without too much enthusiasm, her dry hair fixed on the scalp, her eyes didn’t meet me, I was not sure if they even looked at the metal blades blending the mixture.
And I started running through the corridors, brimful of joy, because in the end, what more exciting can a seven-year-old girl expect from a Sunday afternoon?
We sat around the table at nine, nine and a half, always too late, we had already allowed those stupid evening entertainment programs to flood us with commonplaces.
“Don’t you eat?” To my mother, the red fire of the cigarette drag was the only signal proving me she was in the balcony wrapped in darkness.
“Mom eats after” she murmured.
My rounded knife plucked the mayonnaise’s thick surface to pick up a generous portion, flickering during the delicate journey to my plate, then I dropped it with a plop on the tuna loaf slice, without worrying about spreading it. The fork sectioned the thick surface of the slice into bows-shaped pieces, forking them as to not dropping the pale yellow dressing for any reason. Then I made each one plane into my mouth, the tuna loaf was still warm and it blended together with the greasy mayonnaise, almost no chewing was needed, they descended perfectly jointed to the bottom of my throat. Pure ten minutes of ecstasy, the speed at which I ended up my plate.
Then one day my mother lent the kitchen robot to my grandmother. She never brought it back.
“I’m sorry, but that blade did not turn very well already when you gave it to me…”
And there were the bills and the car’s battery that were more expensive and the tuna loaf was never made again.
“Cause mum need the big machine to prepare it”
I asked her so many times, I did not want to give up. But no, without the kitchen robot was really impossible.
And the mayonnaise expired, and we threw it away. Mom and dad divorced. And I took my degree and left home and country.
In Belgium they put mayonnaise everywhere.

We eat with auntie and Marty tomorrow when you arrive
Last seen at 17:45.
At 18:39:
Can you prepare the tuna loaf?
Seen without reply.

Rome is warm, tremendously hot, I am steamed in the long jeans and gray sweatshirt, this morning in Brussels there were seventeen degrees. But my mother is beautiful, her shiny hair picked up with an elegant slide, her eyes skirted by a graceful green emerald.
I place my luggage in the boot.
“What are your programs for the afternoon?” She asks.
“Studying, actually. Yours?”
“I have to cook for tonight”
“What do you make in the end?”
“The tuna loaf, as you asked me”
And at dinner, my mother turns to me, shaking slightly the piece of loaf, “That’s really tasty. I do not have the kitchen robot but I used the mixer instead, and it came good the same, didn’t it? ”
But I can just nod only, my mouth is too busy in chewing the loaf and the mayonnaise that finally had met again.

Annunci

Il polpettone

Era l’unica occasione in cui mangiavamo maionese. Quel barattolo nell’angolo più remoto del frigo affiancato dai capperi sotto sale, la consistenza cremosa attorno al bordo ingiallita e indurita. Finalmente, sembrava dire quando mia madre lo tirava fuori.
Il mio naso giusto fino a sopra il tavolo, a curiosare sulla superficie legno, che non c’era odore che me l’anticipasse, solo il bzzz continuo del robot da cucina che mi aveva richiamata dalla camera da letto. Che era così ovattato il suo odore, come il beige del colore, come il bianco del panno, bollito, che lo ricopriva, lo nascondeva finché una nuvoletta di vapore, come un respiro di sollievo, usciva dagli angoli che le dita di mia madre delicatamente snodavano.
“Stai facendo il polpettone di tonno?” le chiedevo quasi d’un fiato.
E lei che annuiva senza troppo entusiasmo, i capelli secchi, fissi, immobili sulla testa, gli occhi che non m’incontravano, non so bene se guardassero tantomeno le pale metalliche che mischiavano il composto.
E io che prendevo a correre per i corridoi, colma di gioia, perché in fondo, cosa si può aspettare di più eccitante da un pomeriggio di domenica una bambina di sette anni?
Ci sedevamo alle nove, nove e mezza, sempre troppo tardi, avevamo già permesso a quegli stupidi programmi d’intrattenimento serali di inondarci di luoghi comuni.
“Tu non mangi?” a mia madre, il rosso fuoco del tiro della sigaretta era l’unico segnale a darmi prova che fosse nel balcone avvolto dall’oscurità.
“Mamma mangia dopo” mormorava.
Il mio coltello senza lame trafiggeva la superficie spessa della maionese a raccoglierne una porzione generosa, che tremolava nel delicato tragitto verso il mio piatto, quando la facevo cadere poi con un plop sul polpettone, senza preoccuparmi di spalmarla. La forchetta a sezionare la superficie della fetta spessa, in pezzi a forma di archi, infilzati facendo attenzione a non far cadere la salsa giallo pallido per nessun motivo. Ne facevo planare ognuno in bocca, il polpettone ancora caldo si fondeva alla cremosità della maionese, quasi che non c’era bisogno di masticare, discendevano perfettamente insieme in fondo alla gola. Puri dieci minuti di estasi, la velocità in cui terminavo il mio piatto.
Poi un giorno mia madre prestò il robot da cucina a nonna. Non lo riportò mai più indietro.
“Mi dispiace, ma quella lama non girava già bene quando me l’hai dato…”
E c’erano le bollette e la batteria della macchina che erano più costosi e il polpettone di tonno non si fece mai più.
“Che a mamma serve quell’apparecchio grande per prepararvelo”
Glielo richiesi tante volte, non mi arresi. Ma no, senza il robot non si poteva proprio più fare.
E la maionese scadde, e la buttammo. Mamma e papà divorziarono. E io presi la laurea e me ne andai via di casa e di paese.
In Belgio la maionese la mettono ovunque.

Ceniamo con Zia e Marti domani quando arrivi
Ultimo accesso alle 17:45.
Alle 18:39:
Mi fai il polpettone di tonno?
Visualizzato senza risposta.

Roma è calda, bollente, sono cotta al vapore dentro i jeans lunghi e la felpa grigia, che stamattina a Bruxelles facevano diciassette gradi. Ma mia madre è bella, i capelli lucidi raccolti con un fermaglio elegante, gli occhi costeggiati da un delizioso verde smeraldo.
Sistemiamo i miei bagagli in macchina.
“Che programmi hai per il pomeriggio?” mi chiede.
“Studiare, in realtà. Tu?”
“Devo finire di cucinare per stasera”
“Che hai fatto alla fine?”
“Il polpettone di tonno, come mi avevi chiesto tu”
E a tavola, mia madre si volta verso di me, scuotendo leggermente il pezzo di sformato, “Che è proprio venuto bene. Non ho il robot da cucina ma ho usato il minipimer, ed è venuto buono lo stesso, no?”
E mentre lo sformato e la maionese si rincontrano dentro la mia bocca, annuisco solamente, e la guardo, a mia madre, non sicura se se ne renda conto che la guardo con orgoglio.

 

 

 

Number 17

Overcoming the present to reach it,
now that the moment is steady,
still,
melted,
under the afternoon summer sun,
while you find yourself jointed onto the grass,
grounded,
part of the circular whole.

Consider your little being,
– the sky is so beautiful
Reach it and love it,
then think it,
shout it loud,
“I’m gonna die now!”

Silence.
And while lingering on the wavy poppies,
you’ll feel your heart bursting in your throat,
that you did not.

Number 18

She just had a shower after a long walk. Scrubbing off the nuisances of the day, flushing them with Tea Tree body wash. She opened that door, to look for a bottle of grapefruit juice. There was none. But there was a mirror. A long mirror. Warm light disclosed the sharp right half of her face. She paused, stared. She sat on the floor, reaching her reflection with the tip of the index. She entertained herself in conversations that would never have took place.
Dating herself; a discovery; a necessary soliloquy.

Number 16

Forget this city,
feel amazing
try always
to kill it

but slow,
don’t panic
act perfectly,
humbly tremble
silently admire
the grand, the empty
the crowd

and if you stare the sun,
brimful of sparkles
stinging your skin,
wounding,
forgetting previous pain,
let them stag you,
skewer of memories

and if it’s sunny,
you can do everything
and if it’s sunny,
and there’s a patch to sit on
isn’t it just great?

Number 17

She was tossing in her suitcase, a scraggy linen sack, as she could feel the inside stitching from the exterior, the outside, where a left side pocket was, she knew its existence barely, as the encounter of an object in it caught her by surprise. A cold, metallic, polished surface, from what her touch could tell her.
No recent memory on it; but then, her mind unreservedly galloped to a guess, unusual, though not for her, in that moment, of a weapon, a gun, it could have been.
She hesitated, not pulling her hand back, fascinated by the danger, hence keeping on brushing that surface, as a circus tamer would do with a wild beast, when the two walk face to face in circle, studying each other. Domestication, even if her eyes were instead lost on a trivial corner of the floor, as a form to maintain that arm quite, or, to make it approve her using it. What for, someone might have asked her, her mind was already elaborating an answer considering the empty room around her, free from dangers as it was the, even if busier, street outside. Then, the epiphany on where to find the potential victim crept up her spine, of her body, which had never felt so alive.
As a dream she had to wake up from, she inhaled air, started breathing regularly again, now she remembered placing a big lock for a previous trip in that pocket, about three months before, thus she closed the zip quickly, nervously, troubled.