Cupboard Fortune

Cupboard Fortune

A Story by Jennifer C

It is a very expensive hobby. I currently possess everything you could need to bake anything your greedy little sweet tooth could grasp for. Everything; and the basics alone add up. But I hoard them, without a plan or a recipe, "just in case". I finally understand my mother's obsession with fabrics and yarn, her speechless disappointment as I curbed her enthusiastic discoveries with "but what would you DO with it?” This was never the point. It was never about a pattern, just as it’s never been about a recipe or an occasion. It’s simply the euphoric, obsessive collection of tools for our "trade". Its more than the necessity of flour to make a cake or a few feet of cotton to patch a quilt, it’s about the matte finish and crinkle of the paper bag it all comes in, the weight and feel of the sugar box between your hands, the mesmerizing, microscopic rhythm of threads bound.

My pantry is filled with cans of what I would consider to be necessities: black beans, soup boxes, oatmeal boxes, rice, broth. I look at it all, repeatedly, regardless of whether or not I’m hungry. Physically, I am full, which is to say that I ate an hour ago. But I still stare into the space jammed with sustenance like I’m reading my future through secret codes in the cereal box, like that kid in “Lady in the Water”. I think frantically to myself, ‘what do I do with it all? What goes with what?’ I need to cook something with this food, but what? And why, if I’m not hungry and should be studying, anyways? The filled cavities in the kitchen have no connection to the cavities in my gut; the empty space behind the belly that aches with vacancy. Despite myself the Veg-all label is not the cure for this emptiness. But what else is left when I have everything in order just as I had wanted it. I am free, $500 a month free, from living with the pressure of someone else’s standards. I figured this would be the cure, like somehow moving out would recreate me into a human again.  Instead, I sit here dumbly like a caged parakeet who can’t believe their pen just opened up, who is gauging whether or not it’s too good to be true, who is deciding between couscous or a chowder. The shell hasn’t broken just yet, but I think there are cracks forming.   

            So I continue to search for something temporarily jolting, to knock me out from this frequency I’m humming under; something to distract me from that nagging, malnutritioned hole. I know full well that everything is only a band aid, and that band aids are just that: an aid, not the entire solution, leaving the wound soggy and suffocated after its removal. It’s the same with all these over the counter methods, and prescriptions are no different either. I’m left with the same hot ache as before, only deeper. After the pursuit has ended they are always more sincere in the morning, not like how they are in the movies when the wretched starlet wakes up alone, used, and still stark naked. They always seem to hang around in real life. Eventually I need them to leave and I sit, with the dewy skin cooled. The half-drunk morning-after coffee has had time to sit and separate, the scummy sweet layer floating above the bitter black. I am left in silence, shivering barefoot, and a few bothersome crumbs beneath my tip toes, scratching my thigh, staring up at the bag of Craisins like it was a damn crystal ball. Swimming in thought; Digging that damn hole.

© Jennifer Chaussee


*It is your responsibility to understand copyright law.

© 2011 Jennifer C

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Great thought provoking story with a bit of humor about something serious. I, too, have collections of things I don't need, things I'll probably never use. Do we do it to fill a gap? I think I've got a lot of gaps...

Thanks for the reminder about copyrighting. I am new to this and haven't even thought about copyrights.

Posted 12 Years Ago

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1 Review
Added on December 13, 2011
Last Updated on December 14, 2011
Tags: hunger, longing, restlessness, food, emptiness


Jennifer C
Jennifer C

Sacramento, CA

I am a poet and non-fiction writer. **All my work is copyrighted. It is your responsibility to understand copyright laws but just as a quick tutorial, they exist as a formality to protect the br.. more..

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