Vegetable Stew

ELIZABETH P. GLIXMAN

In winter when Predrag's garden lay fallow, he was resourceful, ordering his vegetables from an organic farm three states away. Predrag excitedly opened the crate of romaine lettuce and asparagus when it arrived, delivered same-day air. His wife Udranga watched him chew. He became a rainbow of antioxidants. He was radiant like a Christmas tree. Covered with a glow of confidence. He knew, as she knew, that if he ate his veggies the night would be theirs.

Udranga beat drums while watching her husband devour asparagus. The chewing and the music were aphrodisiac. The faster he chewed, the faster she beat. She became breathless from her desire. She thought about having him bring ice cubes to her so she could lick them dry. She was thinking of possibilities.

In the night when the leaves fell and the drums were quiet, Predrag and Udranga looked at the spring seed catalogue. Every time they turned the pages, Udranga felt her clock ticking. The tomatoes and pumpkins reminded her that fertility was finite, and that the hairs on her chin would someday be stubble and white. Udranga took her temperature and knew the moment was right for planting.

She took a dehydrated squash and plumped it. Udranga knew Predrag loved summer squash that was first drenched by the sun, then coated with olive oil, thyme and vinegar. He had offered her the yellow orbs on their first date ten years ago. He placed the squash on her eyelids. He put one on each awakened nipple and delighted in the taste.

Udranga made carrot-juice-soaked almonds in rose water. She dumped herself like ravioli into her bath of lavender and mint, floating and thinking of Predrag's schlong and all the little Predrags she wanted. They would help her chop vegetables for their father in the summer.

The flames were bright in the stone fireplace that Udranga built when they were newlyweds. Udranga smelled the aroma of vegetable stew, and felt the moist heat  rising in the cabin and in her body. Predrag walked in, his head topped with a pile of snow. His nose was adorned with ice crystals. Udranga heard the slosh of his boots and saw the ice melt off his knit gloves. She saw his nose tremble.

"Ahem," he said, vegetable stew. He sniffed and smiled, and then he looked at Udranga naked on the crocheted blanket. "Yellow squash," he grunted.

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