• Vol. 02
  • Chapter 07
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The Fruits Of The Sea

Dear Aunt Dorothea,
       I have just returned from visiting Benoit’s family in Les Landes. Easter lunch, south of Bordeaux. Men return from the market. Arms filled with bulging blue plastic bags. What is inside? Things wriggle. A sweet iodine perfume. A long wooden table, bordered with ten chairs. Glasses. Flowers. Fruits de mer. The fruits of the sea. Bags unpacked. Seafood boiled alive. Simmered to death. A massacre in steam. Table dressed with tools, assembled, lined up like soldiers. One-by-one. Attention. Immaculate. Like a surgeon’s implements. Like a surgeon’s instruments. Apparatus for the feast. Things for cutting, grasping, retractors and distractors. Hinged crackers. A mallet. Metals spikes like hatpins. Chink of china. Sit, sit. Tuck a napkin under a chin. A plateau, a tower, an architectural construction. A showstopper built into a nest of glistening emerald seaweed. Terracotta crabs. Amaranth pink lobsters. French fuchsia prawns. Ivory scallops. Licorice black snails. Winkles. Splash of white wine. Bon appétit. Chère famille. Nodding heads. The fracture of shells. Split, break, stab. A sip of sauvignon. Oui, merci. Scraping tiny morsels of flesh. Non, merci. A dip of oily mayonnaise. Baguette. Dismembered. Muscles. Sucking claws. Juice drips from my father-in-laws mouth. C’est bon. Crack. Que c’est bon. An oysters slips down my mother-in-law’s throat. Echalotte swim in a pool of cider vinegar. A gulp of sauvignon. A chew. A swallow. A gulp. A scrape. A dip. Mastication and swallow again. A swipe. A glance. A chuckle. A dip. A crack. A drink. A trickle on the table. Flesh on wood. Wine splattered. Conversation sprinkles. A break. A splotch. A speck. A gobble. A munch. A sigh. Enough. A wipe. Two hours later it is done. Undone. The table a wreck. The stomach full. The bottles empty. The tower deconstructed.

       Bisous and kisses from me and baby Sophia,