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Some of the most precious moments of my life are interwoven into a diadem of satisfied solitude, only doled out on occasion.
Tostada con tomate, café con leche, narañja Valenciana. There are novels, there are books, there’s so much sunshine. There’s no need to report in to someone. There’s a glorying in it, diamonds of memory that grace my forehead.
Wine and linguine redolent with garlic, chilli and The Good Olive Oil, eaten alone, without apology, in a heady, heated London night. A memory of prosciutto, its puce blanket draped over wet wedges of melon, the saline-sweet solution a juxtaposition that makes your eyes roll.
There’s the orgasm that hits you so hard your head is thrown back with the pleasure, your teeth clack together, the sheets wet with it. The Turkish delight rose flush works its way down from your cheekbones to your chest, lower still, if anyone cares to look for it. There may even be the prickle of sweat between your breasts, the crease of your thigh, if the covers are warm enough.
Sink to the chin in a bathtub nigh-overflowing with water, steam rising through the candlelight, skin glowing, book in one hand, nothing strenuous. It’s sitting in a gallery, watching the dappling across the old masters, the oil paints glowing just by themselves. No need to be seen, no need to be validated.
It’s the scent of le bon café, the scent that carried itself up the Corsican mountains, the first glass of Muscat I ever tasted, punctuated with hot, salty fries rolled in herbes du maquis. It’s kissing for the exquisite pleasure of it, and nothing more. Sopapillas, honey, honey butter. Piñon coffee. Seduction via spoken poetry.
To the future, then. There must be bunches of green herbs; coriander, mint, basil, sage, rosemary, pungent, stirred thickly into yoghurt (the way he might stir himself in you), eaten with something charred on the grill. There must be worn Persian rugs, fires, incense, nothing but candles and smoke.
Chocolate and candied petals. Lemon cake, generously sliced. Lavender and honey ice cream. Glass biscuits. Sea salt on everything, especially your lover. Green pears, verdant, under-ripe, the chilliest champagne in hand, a breath from frozen. That heart of winter, 30th of December kind of cold.
There must be excursions to buy freesia, peonies, ranunculi, anemones. New books, old books, arms full of flowers and ink on paper. Let there be red wine and slut’s spaghetti, black olives refusing to be anything other than they are: forcing you to shudder with their intensity.
Let me weave the ten thousand years of crushing ancestral guilt into challah that tastes of redemption, let me feed the hungers in your soul with your mouth on mine. Your home should smell, in autumn, of chipotle, bonfire smoke, the human sex scent of cumin, the sweet fleeting fancy of cinnamon.
There ought to be coffee, of course, but coffee is, literally, in the bloodstream. Your veins tango with it, the body bears the aftershocks. What of smoked salmon, schmear, toasted bagels? Eaten in bed, of course, preferably where the sheets are still warm. You should know by now that Negronis taste better naked.
And, when the holy days of your heart come knocking, reply with an upturned thimble of tequila. Life smells of fresh lime, squeezed onto your waiting tongue.
Trust no one who tells you they don’t like food. Educate them, instead, pull the luscious skin of a fig apart, push your tongue into its tender heart and smile whilst you do it. Crush the seeds between your teeth. Eve knows how you feel.
I don’t write with meaning in mind, rather, meaning is the mind my words take on. I write because this is how I love: I describe, I announce, I reframe. Food, and by extension, life, is my muse.
What is the meaning to be found in the ripest peach, the peanut satay, the perfect avocado?
Why, nothing more than this: that life itself, the winds and tides, the salt and the soil, the sun and the moon, have shone into the things that sustain us: consciousness in costume. We are held up, rising rooted, dancing with the satellites that nourish this world. Human lyricism comes from the alchemy of choice.
To play or to appreciate? To question or to revere? A hymn to simplicity or a chant to change?
My prayer? That your appetite for life never be sated.