Mrs Dalloway's Best Nightmare
I am Hostess, I am Divine Feminine
for just One night. The clock carves out
its cold rhythm, the evening air reeks of it. I’m rushing
but not in a rush—you see? Two hours before arrival.
A furious chopping chokes up the kitchen, eyes streaming
with onion fuckery. Preparation frenzy goes to my head
like cheap sweet wine can’t think straight can’t think
twisted—I’ll pour the oil into the batter and the butter
into the pan and let it simmer in misunderstanding.
A guest has cancelled. All is lost, I cry, in the rich
soprano screech of a melodramatic housewife.
But in their stead a wild friend has appeared, sleeves
floating like sautéed jellyfish. She requests a nap
and a nap is served, sleeping beauty, take your pick
of the beds and let me play host to the max. The door
is a-jarring and in strolls another, loaded with armfuls
of zucchini (and you’re telling me that’s not cucumber).
Thank you, sweet prodigal son, and so along too comes
a ray of prodigal sun. Fry ’em up baby, we’ll be out of oil
and all the better for it. Fridge the shitty rosé, a fine pink mist
clouds over evening and hazy minds. Well the kitchen’s
a mess, big dipper bubbling over
with voices, ripe with hubbub. Now the real guests
are arriving, but how to entertain when the red peppers
still need straining? La table est servie—lights, camera,
and we’re rolling. One hit and I’m fuzzed out and coughing
like a thirteen-year-old behind the school bins. But see, magnum
bottle and I, we preside over the table. Then I feel the real hit:
the Dalloway and Ramsay in me emerge and I’ll be creator
and connector, megalomaniac maniaque and only a little
tyrannical. The pleasure’s subdued but it’s there all the same.
Conversations airbrushed and reheated in the microwave,
on s’en fout, c’est toujours aussi bon. When midnight strikes
I cave, adrenaline burnt through and through (did you leave it
in the oven too long?). I’ll cinderella you all out the door,
beloved friends, with your cheeky red eyes and grown-up sighs.
For one moment I sit with Success. I soak it up and put it
in the fridge—I look forward to having the leftovers tomorrow.