ONION SOUPPublished 2010 in Verbal Seduction, Syracuse University's literary magazine
Swollen onion squares tumble as my arm drifts mechanically across the cutting board. Tataptap. Push. Tataptap. Liquid sprays into my eyes but the sting flushes out with a blink. I check the simmering broth. Salt drips in without a shaker. “Again? You made this last night." He shoots his criticism, words sharp and precise, to remind me to add less salt. I tell him there is none.
The cutting is mindless. My eyes follow as he opens the fridge and pulls out blocks of bread, ham and cheese. The knife in his hand points to the ceiling like bayonet. I cut faster.
Onions caramelize in the pan until they turn the color of dried blood.
I announce that dinner is ready, and set the soup down. He slurps while making snide remarks about how salty everything is. “The beef is always good. Tender,” he comments as an afterthought. I wanted to ask if he wanted more but he's been never interested in conversation. He eats until the spoon screeches against a porcelain bottom. Then he thanks me for filling his appetite. “That was the best you've cooked yet.” And then he gets up. Tataptap goes the sound of his feet as I remain on the kitchen floor, the dishes sit on the dining table.
By Christal Yuen