• Vol. 05
  • Chapter 05

She said her mouth was like the sea

I said of course, that I understood, though I didn't.

She said the grains of rice were like little fishes, slipping and sliding through the soup in her mouth, in and out of the rocks of her teeth.

"That's as may be," I said. "But we don't have all day." By which I meant that I didn't have all day. Though of course I did, for what else was I there for?

I watched as she blew her cheeks out, making me wait. It was the waves she said, and I said I could see that that was so. Which I couldn't. I was merely humouring her. And I was tapping my foot now, tap tap, impatient.

She knew, of course, that I was doing these things. She swallowed her mouthful and looked at me in that way of hers.

"You always were a wilful child," she said. And I said nothing, because I wasn't there for argument. I was there for her supping of the soup.

She swallowed and I went to lift another spoonful to her mouth, but the expression in her eyes stopped me and I waited until it changed to permission.

She opened her mouth, wide as a westward-facing bay with an incoming evening tide, a tide lapping the white rocks on the shore. And for a moment she was beautiful. I was stopped by that, stopped with a spoonful of soup held halfway to her mouth.

"I see it now," I said. "I see how your mouth is like the sea."

And then we went on with her supping of the soup, until it was done. And then I wiped her mouth, gently, as she had once wiped mine.