Like a knife sliding down a slab of butter that’s been sitting out in a counter on a hot day
My brown eyes melt into your green.
We hold our gaze for a minute. Then two. Every second counts.
It’s like when I have arrived at the last 10-9-8-7 of the oven clock as I wait for it to beep
To cook the Trader Joe’s chicken shawarma thighs at 400 F for 34 minutes—if I take them out early
They will not taste right. Just like I can’t be the first to break eye contact because I’m trying to
Talk to you through telepathy. I wish our brains spoke the same language.
I want us to be the exact temperature needed to be cooked right. Medium rare. Al dente.
Before I sit down to eat I look for a drink. Canada Dry. The fizz crisp, bubbling on my tongue.
On days we don’t talk, not even ginger ale can quench my thirst.
I can’t ever seem to digest you.
The table is bare—there is no checkered cloth covering it,
Open and ready to take on spilled sauce of a relationship unlabeled. Friendship, but a bit more.
Like a can opener that stops working half way and I’m left wondering what now.
Tomorrow when I throw out the pasta water and save the farfalle pieces from slipping out I will think
Of our pesto dinners last summer. About how there are so many parts of you I am yet to know.
You slip through the perforations of the colander every time I’m done measuring the ingredients
It takes to get the recipe of us right.
But tonight it’s another dinner without you. I bite into my steak.
I tear open the bread and it crumbles in my fingers.
I want us to let the crumbs fall. Nothing to catch us.
Padya P. (she/they) is a Bangladesh-born, New Haven-based writer, editor, and pop culture enthusiast. They received their MFA from Columbia University in creative nonfiction. Their work has appeared in Teen Vogue, them., Color Bloq, Autostraddle, VRV Blog, and Dogwood Journal, where she was a finalist for the Dogwood Literary Award in Nonfiction in 2020. They are the co-founder and co-editor-in-chief of Dream Glow Magazine, a literary journal inspired by the artistic project of BTS.