The scent of something salty and warm and so good whoompfed in her face as soon as Sarah entered the house. She sniffed, trying to inhale as much as she could. Her mouth watered. If she knew how to do it, she would have eaten the smell out of the air.
“Clarice and I made supper. Well.” John chuckled. “Actually, Clarice did most of the work. She made pork chops and baked potatoes. I was her go get guy.”
Sarah frowned. She knew what potatoes were. They were crusty, flaky flat things that were almost always too dry. Pork chops, however….That was a mystery word to her. She needed to see what they looked like. Did they look as good as they smelled? What were they even made out of?
Flames flickered in ribbons around her neck. She hugged her book as tight as she could and marched confidently to the kitchen.
John opened the door and she went right in.
And she nearly melted from the strength of the pork chops’ good smell.
Clarice shut off the oven and beamed a bright smile at them. “You two came back at just the right moment.”
John came over to her. “Can I help?”
“Sure! If you could pull out the dishes and silverware, I’ll get the food out of the oven.”
Sarah carried her book over to the table and sat. She watched John and Clarice plate the food. They looked so happy together.
Clarice smiled at him a lot. And it wasn’t a fake, “I’m trying not to cry” smile. It was all the way up in her eyes, which was the best kind of real smile. John smiled and laughed like he was full of feathers and rainbows. Nothing fake about that either. When Clarice wasn’t looking, he looked at her with a “I want to kiss you” kind of expression on his face.
Sarah waited and waited for them to finally just do it. He wanted to kiss her. She probably wanted to kiss him too. So, what was the whole delay? They should have kissed as soon as John entered her space. Because that’s how kissing worked.
She shook her head in disappointment as they carried the plates of food to the table. They didn’t kiss even once. How rude of them! But they were busy. So, there was that. Still, it’s not like kissing took that long to do.
She shook her head again, because disappointment like that needed two head shakes to fully express its depth.
John put a plate of food in front of her.
Sarah gasped silently. All of the good smells were right there in front of her. And none of it looked like her idea of potatoes. A mysterious oval brown thing with thin, peeling skin had been split open. A couple pats of butter softened and melted all over the thing’s off-white insides.
The other food on the plate looked like some sort of country on a map. It was a rich brown circle with uneven borders and a long, narrow bit at the bottom. Maybe the long, narrow part was supposed to be a handle?
John smiled and patted her back. He sat next to her and Clarice sat on the other side of him. It was all quite cozy.
But Sarah kept staring at the food, trying to decide which one she wanted to eat first. They both looked and smelled so good. She decided to eat the country first.
Sarah picked it up by its built-in handle. It was warm, but not nearly as hot as her own fire. She took a bite out of its eastern border.
It was meat, but it was not chicken. It was spicy and juicy and it was not chicken. It was firm and tender and it didn’t taste a thing like chicken. It tasted like garlic and pepper and salt and not at all like chicken. It brought tears to her eyes, because it did not taste anything like chicken.
It was the most wonderful thing she’d ever eaten.