Lucia observed her round face in a spoon, in the cutlery drawer, and something happened—a horse chestnut trembled in the stillest of still air, the vinyl gift bag from last night’s dinner party rolled itself into a neat ball. A sensation of tingling began in Lucia’s shoulders that was familiar but only from the long-past days when she’d had a drinking problem. The Maltese barked once, then stopped. The Maltese never barked. The spoon reflected Lucia’s mouth opening and forming a sound, which Lucia heard as “busy.” Or possibly the phone rang first and then she said the word, but that couldn’t be, the phone had the good sense not to ring when Lucia resolved to pamper herself. We’ve all had this feeling, “it can’t be.” We’ve all gone straight home in the drizzle and resolved to treasure a basic luxury like home cooking. All at once a sunny blankness refreshes us; but the sunny blankness remained aloof from Lucia, examining her through a lens of slyness and indifference. And then the spoon filled Lucia in:
Before the auditors intervened, my soul was lost. You wouldn’t understand if I explained how my soul consisted of misplaced sparks, unfound, intricate but dismal, wandering as if they would wander forever.
Auditors, said Lucia.
The Auditors, said the spoon, forming Lucia’s lips against her will into an upper-case letter. Their reason for being is to keep track of souls that wander and wander and then become unfindable, otherwise unfindable, for example by becoming too comfortable within, say, a culvert or a cistern.
Who or what exactly are you supposed to be, said Lucia to her reflection in the spoon.
I’m the wandering soul of the famous aviatrix who lost her way and ditched in heartbreaking proximity to an atoll, said the reflection. I’ve been wandering for all these years. I awakened this morning in proximity to some cutlery and I’m happy to announce that I knew, I somehow just knew, that at last I would be a bodiless soul no more.
Nothing happened then except that Lucia felt pity for herself, and sadness for the occasional bouts of whimsical hopelessness that descended as reminders that she would always, technically, have a drinking problem. Nothing happened except that she strolled out of the house into the garden and shut her eyes and felt a little lonely among the clothes that had been put out to dry along the clotheslines. She reached for a blouse, ran the fabric between her fingers, measured her loneliness, but it was only loneliness and not the vivid sense of desperation that had come over her in the past when she resisted the craving for a particularly unforgiving aperitif.
The Maltese trotted out into the garden. Instead of nuzzling the Maltese roughly and running her fingers through its fragrant tresses, Lucia unpinned a blanket from the line and spread it picnic-style upon the manicured lawn along the garden gate. She lay on her back with the Maltese pressed against her. The washed blanket still faintly carried a scent of influenza. Everyone knows this lonely feeling of looking up at the picturesque sky and yearning for a sanctioned version of escape. Lucia lulled herself with a daydream of the limestone at Akumal. The fresh water percolated upward in bubbles that cast a spell of happiness upon countless spas and roulette tables.
By the time Lucia had placed the moon at the center of the dome, she’d settled into a reasonable facsimile of tranquil contentedness. She lobbed a twig to the Maltese who ignored it and disappeared through the patio doors into the house. The Maltese came back out with a spoon in its mouth.
I don’t know if I can do this, said the reflection in the spoon. My soul has been wandering for so long, I’m concerned about how I’ll handle domestic tranquility.
We could catch the red-eye and officially be missing persons by tomorrow, Lucia said to her reflection in the spoon.
Nothing happened. Lucia toyed with her phone, halfheartedly watching a video about turmeric. A kitchen device that could synthesize turmeric seemed like it could find a place in an innovative kitchen. Turmeric went with coconut water, which in turn went with celery and cucumber. Lucia shut down this line of thinking and thought instead about ryegrass and photosynthesis.
The next morning, Lucia opened the cutlery drawer and waited as her reflection gazed back skeptically from the bowl of the spoon. A drop of water leaked from the faucet and bounced twice, the first time nearly all the way back to the outlet of the faucet.
Such a quiet night, said the reflection in the spoon. I’m not used to quiet. It’s a feeling like not having children at home. I know you do have children at home. I whisper the word “pajamas” to myself, and then I whisper the word “sparks.” I go back and forth between “sparks” and “pajamas.”
Your mouth is moving when you whisper those words to yourself, said Lucia.
I can’t possibly convey the terrible reality of wandering, said the spoon, the constant vigilance lest even one essential spark break off and not be able to find its way out of, for example, an amaranth silo or an asbestos disposal site.
While Lucia waited for the spoon to continue, she mouthed the word “amaranth,” a word she’d spoken at least a thousand times and yet, so it seemed as she lingered by the cutlery drawer, had never actually stopped to consider; now she mouthed it and considered. She watched her lips moving in the spoon and alertly listened for the moody overtone of pique that crept into her voice when certain forgotten vexations stirred again where they weren’t supposed to be stirring. At the window, a seed brushed the glass with its spikes, leaving a long undulating pale track, a brand new scar.
We’ve all stood at a drawer absentmindedly kneading a facial tissue while seeds plunk onto the lawn, and the fresh water percolates upward into the salt, its bubbles casting a spell of happiness upon the numbered lounge chairs and enervated newlyweds.
Photo By: RawheaD Rex