Our apartment is set up with a huge bedroom, a generous kitchen and no dining room to speak of. So it isn’t too often that we throw dinner parties. In fact, we’ve never had guests over to eat. To drink, yes. To play, of course. Just not to dine. But when my 25th birthday happened to fall on Thanksgiving, my girlfriend Naomi decided that she wanted to do something extra special.
“I’ll cook,” she announced grandly. We can invite Joshua and Diva and have a picnic on the kitchen floor. Maybe the Pilgrims wouldn’t have approved, but I know that our friends won’t mind.”
“Do you know how to cook?” I asked, incredulously. In all of our time together, the most I’d seen Naomi cook was toast, and she usually burns it to a point that even she won’t eat it. We’re big on ordering in or going out.
“Of course, I can cook.” She glared at me. “You handle the invitations. I’ll do the rest.”
I shrugged and picked up the phone. Joshua responded as I had, “What do you mean ‘Naomi’s cooking’? She can’t cook!” But I hushed him and told him to have a little faith. Maybe the meal wouldn’t consist of the stuffing and glazed bird we all remembered from old-fashioned dinners at home, but I knew that Naomi would surprise us all.
And she did.
On Thanksgiving, Naomi brought a present into the bedroom. “I want you to wear this tonight,” she said. I unwrapped the gift quickly, then pulled out a shiny black, vinyl apron.
“Over my dress?” I asked naively.
“That is your dress.”
I stared at her for a moment, to see if she was kidding. She wasn’t. Humbly, I put it on. When Joshua and Diva arrived, they couldn’t take their eyes off me. We sat on the kitchen floor, on a red-and-white checked picnic blanket, and drank the champagne Naomi opened. Then we waited — or I waited — expectantly, for the first course.
It was me.
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“Giving Thanks” by Alison Tyler