Martín knew from experience that jealousy was not the path to a healthy relationship. There’s nothing to gain from giving examples. So when he met Andrea he tried something different. Martín closed his eyes and pictured an empty room with nothing more than a switch inside it. The jealousy switch. He walked over to it and turned it off. When he opened his eyes, jealousy was gone. Simple as that.
Martín was surprised that actually worked. But it did. He and Andrea had been together for almost three years and everything was fine. Everything was absolutely fine.
Well, there was one silly little thing that worried him. Andrea was a foodie and Martín had been born without the sense of taste. Something like this could easily drive them apart. Andrea loved to eat and adored wine, she kept bottles and bottles of it at home. Martín could only taste things when they were too sour or too sugary. That was it. The subtleties of flavor were a complete mystery to him. Andrea didn’t seem to have a problem with this. She liked to explain him how each meal tasted, what she found striking in every dish and how the wine danced with the movement of the food. Martín smiled and nodded, theoretically understanding and just happy to hear Andrea speak.
Every other week, Martín and Andrea would visit Eduardo, Martín’s brother. Eduardo, the gourmet chef. Eduardo and his girlfriend du jour were always gracious hosts, offering surprising dishes and lively conversation. Martín felt like an adult every time he was in Eduardo’s apartment. Glass and steel furniture. Soft jazz always playing. The big painting of a vineyard in the living room, the sun shining over a long line of dark and light grape vines. Everything about Eduardo was slightly sophisticated.
And you know who is a big fan of sophistication? Well, Andrea sure is.
What a silly, silly thought.
Eduardo invited them to a wine tasting he was doing at his restaurant. That’s right, besides being a gourmet chef, Eduardo had his own restaurant. Silly, silly. They agreed to go and Martín thought it could be a fun evening. Sort of. He couldn’t taste anything but Eduardo’s events were usually entertaining. And Andrea was always excited when there were food and wine involved.
The night of the wine tasting Martín was sick. He had a fever and a bad cough. Andrea wanted to stay with him but he insisted she went out. Nothing was wrong. And she had been really looking forward to it. Andrea promised to bring him back some chicken soup and kissed him on the forehead before leaving. She was gorgeous in her long black dress. Martín was sweaty and hadn’t changed his pants in two days.
Martín went to bed and closed his eyes. He saw the room with the jealousy switch again. The switch was still off, like he had left it back then. But the room wasn’t empty anymore. It had a bed with a thick mattress and no sheets. On top of the bed, Andrea and Eduardo were having sex without any tenderness, just force and pleasure. There is no place for subtlety in the switch room.
Martín got up and drove to the restaurant. He still had a fever and got lost a few times but he made it. He was very underdressed for a formal event in his wrinkled pajamas. Still, nobody would say anything to the eccentric brother of the chef, the one who couldn’t taste. Hard to believe they were even related to each other, right? Martín looked through the crowd. He couldn’t find Andrea or Eduardo so he asked one of the waiters. They were in the kitchen. Of course.
The kitchen was full of people in white gowns that moved around rapidly. They were preparing the special of the evening: baked salmon with lemon caper butter. A piece of dead fish with green pebbles on it. Martín found Andrea and Eduardo on the back, already eating. Eduardo held the fork up to Andrea’s mouth and she took the bite, the fork briefly lingering inside her. She closed her eyes to enjoy it, the wine glass hovering next to her hand. Delicious she said. Martín didn’t hear her but he could see her mouth moving.
“Martín!” said Eduardo, smiling. “I didn’t think you’d come, Andrea said you were sick. I have a fantastic chicken and ginger soup that will heal you right up, brother.”
Silly, silly chicken soup.
Written for Grammar Ghoul Press Mutant 750 #49
First place! Once again, Raúl is excited. He might just throw his hands up in the air, just like he doesn’t care.