I threw it out there. I don't know why. Something about how I was planning on cooking dinner for "a couple friends, not a big deal." How casually wonderful can I be?
Then I fell asleep. And awoke to:
5:18 pm: Sounds lovely. What time is it at?
I crawl out of bed, brush my teeth. Pick at my face. Scan my cabinets: could make mac and cheese, pasta, or beans, with a side of iced tea and beer and frozen blueberries. Or oatmeal. That's when I panic.
5:37 pm: 7 ok?
Run to the grocery store before response. Frantically try and round up friends to cook for, but they are at their girlfriend's/already ate/at their girlfriend's/out of town/will probably bring up the topic of guest's penis piercings/not hungry. I figure the last two are my safest bet, and convince one to come over even earlier to help me cook. I throw salad, rhubarb, cucumbers in my bag without bagging them up. I grab a whole chicken and put it in another, and hurry before it bleeds everywhere.
T and I are chopping vegetables. We've done this before, peeling potatoes without looking, slicing towards our thumbs while others look on in horror. Now he teaches me how to chop properly before taking over the rhubarb.
5:30 pm: Certainly.
I throw the chicken whole, unseasoned, in the oven, think twice, and toss some vinegarette on top. Cook the bulgar. Clean the table. Check my reflection in every surface. Tell T that he cannot, under any circumstance, bring up penis piercings.
Well, what if they come up in conversation?
How would they ever come up in conversation?
I don't know.
Fine, then. If it comes up in conversation, and you act like you don't know, then yes.
They come. We're sitting outside waiting for the chicken to cook. T is eating pizza and asking about J's lip ring. I ask when he took it out. Then realize the subject of piercings has been brought up. A mentions that he has quite a few. T giggles. I excuse myself and check the chicken. By the time I come back, A's explained the top and gauged ear piercings, the nipple ring, and the Jacob's ladder.
Is that a-
Oh, I see.
We talk about our professors, liberal arts educations, gay sex. Cephlapods, math, corpses. Jewish mothers, feminists, vegetarians. Each of these topics is sandwiched by incredibly awkward silences. Slowly T and J filter out. It's just him and me left.
We stand in the kitchen, overcompensating. I do the only thing I can think of, which is put the hamster in the ball, and we sit and watch her struggle to cross the carpet.
The night ends with a hug goodbye, which adds to my confusion.