I can feel the cold in my bones this autumn day even though I have the heat turned up beyond my husband’s mandated 68 degrees. So I’m wearing his old cable knit sweater and cradling a cup of tea, letting the steam shroud my face to warm me up—it’s not working.
It’s lunchtime, but although my stomach grumbles like an alarm, I can’t be bothered to eat. I really fancy the chilled cucumber soup my husband would make at the height of summer. Of course, he grumbled that the cucumbers we bought from our local Stop and Shop never tasted green enough, and I would laugh and ask, “What does green taste like?” Now I know it’s the freshness that fizzes on your tongue like a new adventure or the soothing notes of our garden where the hollyhocks grow as high as a wish. Just thinking about it, I can smell the spicy chili jam he spooned on the top to add heat and intrigue.
That soup was us–in a bowl, his calming green, and my crunchy red. Swirled together, we were the perfect combination. And he always knew when to make it for me. Just as the darkness was ripening on the branch about to fall, he would say, “Would you let me woo you with my cucumber tonight?” and then make a Benny Hill-like gesture that always made the darkness blossom into an apple.
I look in the fridge and see I have all the ingredients but one to make the soup for myself. So I peel the cucumber, open the gloopy yogurt and pour the organic chicken stock. I hear him say, “It’s worth paying the extra for organic.” The blender is as loud as a car crash.
I serve it in one of my favorite bowls; it has a chip where he knocked it against the tap. We had bought it on a trip to celebrate our twentieth wedding anniversary, so I wouldn’t let him throw it out. I spoon the chili in a circle, and when I taste it, the soup is much too salty, but I scrape the bowl clean anyway. I brush away my tears as I look at a photo of the two of us that last summer and say, “It’s not as good as yours my love but I’m going to keep on trying.”
Adele Evershed lives in Wilton, CT