I fear that I have gone all* domestic.
And when I do the whole distance-yourself-from-the-situation thing, that fear turns into horror, and then that's me in the corner, cowering in fear, expecting to be hit over the head, by the rabidly feministic eighteen year old, that used to be me.
"Look", I try to reason with her**, "put that cudgel down. I'm sure we can discuss this like adults", and I'm praying like hell that the hormones blazing through her veins haven't taken over all her brain cells.
"You've changed", she says, accusingly..."You used to be strong-willed...and free spirited...and, and you HATED housework!"
"I know, I know! I've been a little...different lately, but it's not what you think", I say, in weak defense. "Look...I'm still a feminist***...and just because I've started spending time...doing...other things...well..."
"Last night, you told the SB that you needed more counter-space in YOUR kitchen." she says, with such scorn in her voice, that I wilt. "You went to bed smiling, and don't think I don't know why!"
What do you mean!? I went to bed smiling because...well...I was happy, okay!? I'd had a good day and I'm allowed to smile when I'm happy, dammit!
Ha! Rubbish! I *know* why.
What?! I mean...I don't know what you're talking about!
You checked the fridge before you went to bed! You smiled...at the bread and cheese and eggs. You even patted the packet of mushrooms fondly. Don't lie to me! I saw you!!
"Alright alright! It's true...all of it! It...It's like a disease okay? I can't help myself! I wake up in the morning, and I want to *make* things. Fluffy, cheesy omelettes with little mushroomy bits of goodness, served up next to slices of toast in melty butter shawls...stacks of golden brown pancakes dripping maple syrup...stuffed-to-the-seams parathas with cold yoghurt and mint chutney..."
Don't try to distract me! You don't fool me with your little tricks you know. I know you! Hell, I AM you! Or, used to be at least...until you turned into this.
Don't talk like that! You don't know what it's like! You don't know how it feels to walk into the fresh foods' section and see all the produce just sitting there...the plump, juicy tomatoes...mocking you with their sheer availability...and the iceberg...so fresh that your teeth almost ache with wanting to crunch it up.
And I can't stop! I see these things...and then I see everything they could be. One minute I'm looking at shiny purple aubergines and the next minute...I can almost taste the baingan ka bharta. Smoky, with the slight tang from the tomatoes...scooped up with pieces of flour-dusty rotis...
"You're doing it again, you're trying to distract me..." she says, but with less scorn now and more...is it hesitation? Hunger?
I see my chance and take it.
"Wait", I tell her, as I rustle up something. I place the dish in front of her with all the flourish of a magician pulling out doves from silk scarves. She eats one spoonful, then another and soon the plate is empty, and she's full.
After a long silence, she asks, "You...enjoy doing this? Making food? Feeding people?".
In between broken sobs, I confess. "I do...but please, *please* don't tell anyone!
The look on her face says, "You're WEIRD woman, but as long as you can cook like that? I'll live with it."
We're aware that it's an uneasy truce, but we shake hands all the same. I breathe a sigh of extreme relief - I have my kitchen back and she has her hormones.
*Okay, not all domestic...I don't do any of the other stuff.
**Yes, I have conversations with my past selves. You ought to try it sometime.
***See, I used to be the kind of person who thought cooking implied domestication implied encouraging gender stereotyping. Yes, well, I wasn't the brightest teenager in the box back then.