I do all sorts of things I didn’t use to have to do: I build chairs. I play baseball. I change furnace filters. But once in a while, it’s nice when someone does something for you.
The other day, I was having some women over for dinner. We are all working on our MFA together so we scheduled a rotating monthly dinner party to discuss our projects and provide feedback and support. Yesterday was my turn to host and I decided I wanted to make chili. My boyfriend is a really great home chef. In fact, he prides himself on his chili. And his ribs. And his steaks. Actually, the list of what he prides himself on goes on (but trust me, it should!).
I was hoping he would make me a big pot of chili to serve at my dinner party (and also for him to maybe change my lightbulbs in a hard-to-reach ceiling fixture). But when he sent me a list of ingredients, I took it to mean was his full vote of confidence in my ability to make it myself. But he dropped by my house the day of the party and noticed there was no chili simmering on the stove.
“It takes hours to cook,” he said in disbelief.
I had gotten carried away at my computer with a research essay and had completely forgotten about the chili. He got out my pot, spices, garlic, meat and even a can of beer and started sautéing onions and browning the meat for me.
I felt a little sheepish, but by the time he threw in some dark chocolate, cumin, oregano and chili powder, the pot was bubbling with a delicious aroma and I was feeling pretty darn good about our relationship. He had come to my rescue. He had taken care of me. He had done something for me that yes, I could have done myself, not as well and probably at the last minute, but that wasn’t the point. To me, this gesture felt really special.
After I separated from my now ex-husband, I pretty much became resigned to the fact that I would have to make my own birthday cake and breakfast on Mother’s Day. Who else would do it for me? But somehow I have gotten lucky enough to have someone in my life who will throw together an amazing pot of chili for me when I need it most. I couldn’t be more thankful. Anyway, for my MFA party, I also made salad and cornbread to go with the chili and a peach and cranberry crumble for dessert.
“Did anybody like that?” my son asked when he tasted the cornbread.
Well, at least the chili was a success, thanks to my boyfriend. And for the record, I did manage to change my own lightbulbs today.