October 7, 2013

In The Line Of Duty

Amy makes the best chicken wings; a fall off the bone, ooey, gooey, mess of a glory in your mouth. And, as friends do, she gave me her recipe.  And, as I am prone to do, I made my family dinner...

The smell permeates the house like we're all Charlies and this is our candy factory and there's that mix of the vinegar and sugar that's a little bit like magic.  I want to use some of the sauce to flavor the rice.  I've already added the stir-fried vegetables and some scrambled egg but it needs that special something.  What is the harm in ladling out a steaming brew from the bubbling stoneware?

I don't know what happens.  I don't know if I stumble or if the ladle hits the side of the dish or if the devil himself decides to erupt that pot like a molten volcano.  All I know is that sauce lashes at me like talons and my left sleeve is immediately and violently soaked and I rip that cardigan off me so fast I hear the seams tear. My blouse is seared against my arm and I peel it slowly, breathing like I'm in labor, then there I am, standing topless in my kitchen, arm tucked up under the cold water tap watching ugly redness move along my arm.

"It's not so bad...it's not so bad..." (Because if you tell yourself something enough times it will become your truth.)  And maybe it wasn't so bad.  There are three faint little blisters, surrounded in a spotty rash-like red.  Probably not scarred for life.

I pull on one of Scott's sweatshirts and clean the mess from the floor, the stove, the cabinet faces.  I leave the sleeve pushed up to let the burn breathe and to illicit a little sympathy when we all sit down at the table.


"Look," I finally say to him, holding out my arm like I'm showing off a prize.  "The sauce burned me."  ('I make such daunting, dangerous, daily sacrifices for this family.  Recognize me.  Hold me high and hold me dear because I am the best thing you got!  RECOGNIZE ME!')

"Oooo," he says, "That sucks!"


Later, the kids are in bed and I plop down on the couch and glance down at my arm...

GROSS!  These blisters are massive, jiggling around like a bouncy castle on my skin.  I am appalled.  And kind of fascinated.  And probably scarred for life.  I suppose I'm just balancing things out, spreading the ugly to two arms now - matching the burn from last years Christmas dinner that, incidentally, I cooked for Amy and her family.  Perhaps I should give up cooking all together?  Pursue that distant dream of a personal chef named Giles?  

But that might be rash.

And the chicken wings?  They were a fall off the bone, ooey, gooey, mess of a glory in my mouth - so at least I have that to comfort me in my recovery.

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