With my round, smooth-bottomed hull, my wide-ribbed belly, I was made for love. We take turns, you and I, filling and being filled. You open a jar, lift a lid, and slip me in your mouth. Your palate favors strong flavors: garlic, lime, pepper, vinegar. Humming, you unscrew jars of cardamom and curry, peel plump mangoes, slice sun-ripened tomatoes. A perfect circle, we savor each other’s taste throughout the day.
I am happiest when you plunge me in hot tea, my bowl loaded with sticky, dark honey. You hold my handle between your thumb and finger, and together we stir the honey until it melts. I can’t tell where you end and I begin. Scooping mounds of peanut butter into your mouth, tongue pressed against me, you search for the last rich smear of fat.
But this month you barely touch me. Opening my drawer, your hands reach for a knife and spread butter on thick rounds of bread. Your refrigerator holds drunken noodles you eat with a fork, pizza with your fingers. Red and black lacquered chopsticks carry hot garlic chicken to your lips. Leaving early, returning late, you have no time for making tea.
This morning your black coffee is too bitter. You dip me in honey and swallow, taking my sweetness with you before you hurry out the door, leaving me empty.
“The Secret Life of Spoons” first appeared in Maudlin House, 2019
Image: Spoon Family
Phebe Jewell’s work appears in various journals, including Monkeybicycle, Spelk, New Flash Fiction Review, Bending Genres, and Milk Candy Review. Her story “¿Cómo Está Tu Madre?” was chosen for wigleaf‘s 2021 Top 50 for (very) short fiction. A teacher at Seattle Central College, she also volunteers for the Freedom Education Project Puget Sound, a nonprofit providing college courses for incarcerated women, trans-identified and gender non-conforming people in Washington State.
Read her at https://phebejewellwrites.com.