Story

Why The Food?

He was beautiful. I am not going to describe him, but he was glowing under these cheap lights. There was a twinkle in his black eyes, and his mouth was turned up in an honest smile.

The day we met was very acutely a disaster.

We met at a restaurant, one of those you’d only find in a small town. From the generic chairs covered in brown leather to the tables resplendent with all kinds of tools the restaurant says to eat your food with, it was a quite a simple place, but with golden lighting. So many fairy lights hanging from the ceiling. It bathed the place in a kind of light that hurt my eyes, but he did not seem to mind, so I shrugged it off. Light music was playing, not a band, nothing classy, just your upgraded elevator music. There was pointless art on the walls, probably there to liven up the place, but it was failing miserably.

“What do you like?”

He was beautiful. I am not going to describe him, but he was glowing under these cheap lights. There was a twinkle in his black eyes, and his mouth was turned up in an honest smile.

That’s why I came here.

“Uh….I am not that much into food. You can decide.”

“You sure?” His smile just widened, dazzling in the light.

“Yes.”

I am sure that he was pulling my leg. He didn’t know about the numerous recipe books in my home, my poster of Jamie Oliver and my cult like obsession with Gordon Ramsey. He definitively wasn’t onto me. I was not being weird at all.

“We’ll have a soup to start off with?”

“Yes yes. A soup. That is good. We should definitely get something liquid.”

“For our teeth?”

“Yes, my teeth are weak.” I sighed dramatically, pretending to groan in pain.

He grinned and I saw a flash of white teeth. The waiter materialised out of nowhere, as they are wont to do. He smiled briefly, politely and asked, “What can I get you gentlemen this fine evening?”

“A soup to start off with would be quite nice. What do you recommend?” I asked. Considering the amount of courage I had, I felt quite brave.

“I could not, ah, recommend anything. I will have to ask the chef. Could you wait just a moment?” He started to run off.

My companion called after him. “No need. We will have the Avgolemono soup.”

I twisted my head to stare at him. He knew what that was? He knew what a soup that most people in the country wouldn’t recognize was? I felt happiness growing inside me. Could he be a kindred spirit?

“Right away sir.”

“That sounded like gibberish. Did you actually order gibberish for us?”

“It’s a Greek soup, and has existed since the time of the Minoan civilization. As you would have it, they were destroyed by one of the…”

It was a joy watching him speak. He seemed passionate, talking about volcanoes, and other odd bits of trivia information. I tried to hang on to every word, but he spoke fast and eventually stopped his speech as we were greeted by the delicious aroma of the soup.

It was yellowish in colour, almost as if someone had moistened an egg yolk. Come to think of it, it was probably made by mixing some kind of broth with the yolk. It tasted a bit acidic, which might have been lemon, or vinegar. There were, of course, pieces of chicken in it. All of these ingredients did cause me to go a bit mad, and I started inhaling the broth, trying to make as little sound as possible.

“Calm down, its not going to run away.” He was laughing at me and my disgusting table manners. I did not care. Food was my life, and I had contemplated wearing a t-shirt which said that, but had been persuaded otherwise. “I like it hot.”

There was an obvious double entendre to the sentence, and it didn’t take him too long to get it. We laughed, me with soup in my mouth, him with deep guffaws that shook our entire table. The soup shook, spilling a few droplets on the clean cloth on the table.

Tears in our eyes (yes, I am easily amused), I waved over the waiter to take our next order, the crowning glory, the main course. With the same waiter back, after allowing us the time to calm down, he cleared his throat and held out his notepad and a pen expectantly. We looked at each, and I knew what he was going to say before he said it.

“Lobster.”

Now I was very sure that he knew about my obsessions and desires. I have never had enough money to buy lobster on my own, and it was really hurting me to see it prepared on the internet, while never having the chance to taste it. It was concerning how he was teasing me over food, and now had ordered something that I desired the most in the world.

“Why lobster?”

“This technically qualifies as fancy place. And they have lobster. Sounds like the most obvious thing to do, doesn’t it?”

His explanation did make sense, and I suddenly wasn’t that scared of the possibility of him having discovered my tumblr blog, which was filled with details nobody except me needed to know.

The lobster arrived in all its glory, blood red with the shape intact, and an array of tools arranged next to it. He went over them, taking my hand and guiding me over them. There was a lobster cracker, which looked suspiciously like a nutcracker, which would pulverize the shell of the lobster. There was a twisted pick there, the lobster fork, used to dig the meat out of the joints (this was getting more disgusting by the minute), a dish for tearing the bones off and keeping them aside and hand wipes, which you could use to clean off the lobster juice (eww!) with.

I was told to twist and break off one of the claws from the lobster, and reach for the meat inside. And while I don’t consider myself strong, I was confident I could do it. I had watched videos, after all. I did twist the claw, and it wouldn’t budge. No matter how much I tried, it would not yield an inch.

Then suddenly it broke off, and the loose meat sprayed over me.

I was covered in bits of shellfish, and my companion couldn’t stop laughing. The table was covered in it, and there were bits and pieces on the floor as well. Our drinks had white stuff floating in it, and of course, it had fallen on another customer as well, who was now coming towards us.

Seeing the waiter in a panic, I told him to calm down and started helping him, as did my companion. I hadn’t even gotten myself cleaned off when I heard a shout for “MANAGER!” and saw that it proclaimed itself from the same old man who had been storming towards us. He seemed visibly angry, and the waiter, looking very scared, left to to find the manager.

While the waiter was gone, we were still trying to clean up the mess. Suddenly, I felt a presence looming over my shoulder. It was the same man, and he made a statement.

“You are in public, why don’t you keep your disgusting practices outside our view?”

He then marched off.

I wasn’t particularly surprised. This was my first date with a guy, of course I had to deal with homophobia. It just hurt a bit more over the loss of the lobster. Extremely shit luck today.

My partner hadn’t noticed, but I suppose this was not a new thing to him. We got cleaned up really quickly, especially after the arrival of other staff, and were informed that since the lobster explosion was our fault, we would not be getting a free replacement.

That would have been the end of the date if not for the ice cream.

And yes, it happened exactly as you imagine it.

This story was about: Sexuality

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Tanmay is a student, still looking for themselves in academia. They create a lot of things half heartedly, but have a lot of love for reading and writing. Oh, football too. Happily interning at Gaysi currently.

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