Love Boiling Over

Contributor: John Laneri

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At this particular moment, I’m standing in the kitchen near the stove over a large pot of water, feeling my emotions reach the boiling point.

“That’s ridiculous,” I say to her a bit too passionately.

“What’s wrong with moving home and living with my mother,” she says, as her
eyes flare with anger. “She doesn’t yell at me when the pasta pot boils over.”

Maria’s a strong willed woman. It’s in her blood. She’s of Italian-American descent like me. And yes, we’re having an argument.

In truth, Maria’s a good person – short, bouncy and usually fun, except when we’re in the kitchen together. That’s when she turns into a different animal.

Me… I’m Mario, Maria’s husband – the most frustrated person in the world.

Today, I’m trying to teach her to cook. I’ve been at it for months, and she still doesn’t have a clue – not even close.

At first, after we were married, I thought she would learn to prepare a few simple things like pasta with a marinara sauce spiced with basil and a pinch of oregano for Sicilian flavor. I soon learned she had other ideas, so I continue to do all of the cooking.

Even now, when I work with her in our apartment, I watch her fumble around in the kitchen banging pots, trying to act interested. She still doesn't know how to make a cheese sandwich much less dip a scoop of ice cream from a container.

Maria doesn’t cook. She likes salads. And, she hates pasta, saying that it makes her hips too fat. I won’t even mention the one time we talked about doing a pizza in the oven.

“What’s so hard about cooking?” I say to her. “All Italian women know how to cook. Most of them keep something on the stove simmering just to make the house smell good. If it wasn’t for my mother – God Bless her heart – I’d be begging for good food.”

Maria merely shrugs and looks away. “Then move home with your mother.”

“She’ll drive me crazy,” I say in frustration.

In the past, I’ve tried telling Maria that pasta is good for the soul – that it strengthens the spirit for love. When I say these things, she only laughs, telling me there’s nothing wrong with her lovemaking – that she has plenty of spirit.

I think she misses the point.

Finally, I step beside her, feeling remorse for yelling then softly caress her shoulder, my lips making playful circles at the top of her blouse.

“When the pasta pot starts to boil over,” I say gently. “You need to remove some of the water. If it spills into your sauce, you have to start again.”

She turns to me and asks, “How do I know when the water is ready to boil over?”

“When the water begins to foam near the top of the pot, it’s ready to boil over. It’s just something you know deep inside. It's like knowing when your love juices are bubbling and ready to explode.”

She turns to me, and soon, a smile forms on her lips as a sparkle of light spreads across her face.

“I’m beginning to feel a few bubbles now,” she says.

“Then, keep stirring the water.”

“No, not those… I mean the playful bubbles.” She glances at me and giggles softly. “Do you mind kissing my other shoulder? It needs your attention too. I’m beginning to like cooking pasta.”

Our eyes meet. Then like magic, that special something again passes between us, and we return our attention to the water, confident in knowing that pasta truly is the food of love.

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John is a native born Texan living near Houston. His writing focuses on short stories and flash. Publications to his credit have appeared in several professional journals as well as a number of internet sites and short story periodicals.
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