It is Sunday afternoon and I sit alone in my car outside the supermarket. I can’t stand to be at home. My husband’s negative energy smothers me and the weight is too much to bear, I am left feeling breathless and defeated.
Only the previous night we were laughing together, we booked tickets to America for a family holiday next year. We were planning our future, our last few holidays with our teenage children. He placed his arm around me as a comfort as I became upset about how quickly time was passing. This morning he pulled the rug out from under me. A surly greeting from our teenage daughter caused him to explode and set off his usual fireworks at the kitchen table. We ate in silence punctuated by his temper. Tears welled, although I did not allow him the satisfaction of seeing them fall. After all, passive aggression is my strong point.
I retreated to our bedroom where the tears spilled, tracking their well-forged path to the damp spot on my pillow. In my head I made the usual plan: a small modern townhouse with three bedrooms, no garden to tend and a sunny courtyard with a simple outdoor setting on which to write. The kids can visit him on alternate weekends, although I’m not sure that our daughter will? Twenty-plus years together and although we are closer than ever, my dream house is slowly being completed. On this day I chose a painting for the lounge room wall.
So far the day is wasted. Washing is piled high and the fridge remains empty. Guilt creeps in and I head into the supermarket. A child bumps me with a trolley. I want to scream at his father, ‘control your child.’ Instead I simply smile and return to the arduous task of selecting the ingredients for our evening meal. I will cook us a homely, nurturing dinner: we need it. Spaghetti and meatballs, a Sunday favourite.
Later that night we will sit together as a family at the kitchen table, the discussion may be stilted. He will enquire about our son’s homework and our daughter will seethe and huff, ignoring us all. I will sit quietly, planning to get this ship back on course. When I go to bed he will bring me a cup of tea and a biscuit, quietly place it by my bedside, and then leave without a word. It will be in this instant I know that the next day we will move together again. A tentative tango at first, then determined and purposeful – just like the way he swirls his spaghetti around his fork.
‘There are no mistakes in the tango, not like life.’ The Scent of a Woman
With each step the townhouse is slowly dismantled.
Spaghetti and Meatballs
250g pork mince * 250g veal mince * 1 large egg * ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg * a pinch of salt & pepper
Olive oil * 3 celery stalks diced * 1 clove garlic * a large jar of tomato passata * 250g tin of diced tomatoes
Combine meatball ingredients and roll into golf size balls. Sauté celery and garlic in olive oil for 3 min. Add tinned tomatoes and passata. Stir and lower heat, then cook for 5 minutes. Gently add meatballs ensuring they are submerged in the sauce. Cover with a lid and continue to cook for 45 minutes.
Serve with your favourite pasta and lots of fresh parmesan cheese.
Buon Appetito x