“The sexiest words a man can say are ‘I saved the last piece of pie for you,” my conviction was unshakable.
He laughed. And then informed me that he didn’t make pie. Only pancakes.
We had spent the previous three months getting to know one another; a slow motion dance spinning forward, one millimeter at a time. I was ready to take off the sweetness and light and allow him to see my murky depths bubbling beneath.
“I have a secret to tell you; only my mom knows.” I was nervous. Secrets only shared with mothers are anxiety-inducing.
“O?” His habit of never adding the “h” to that word intrigued me and almost sidetracked my intention of secret telling. Focus, Melissa.
“I don’t like pancakes.” I would have whispered it if I could. But text message doesn’t allow for whispering, so instead my words boomed out across the miles and landed before his unsuspecting eyes. His “WHAT?!?!?” was resounding. It echoed through the blue message and bounced about the gifs like a pinball.
I have been diligently working to stop reading the thoughts of other humans. Apparently it isn’t useful and can be dangerous and every once in awhile I’m wrong. Some people might say more than every once in awhile, I would say rarely. This time his line of thinking was obvious.
I pointed it out to him. “I don’t tell people because they automatically think, ‘WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU, SERIAL-KILLER-WHO-DOESN’T-LIKE-PANCAKES?” His response was immediate, “yea, those are mainly my thoughts.” I was overly fierce that morning and responded in kind. “Maybe I feel the same way about a man who is only willing to make pancakes but not interested in learning how to make me a pie.”
He likes a challenge. Maybe this is why the conversation is still going, three months into sass and wildness and unexpected curveballs. This man thrives on clever repartee and provocation. With a gauntlet thrown down, he sprung into action.
“I can make pie.” He informed me. “I just never have before. I can make anything.” I could see him puffing out his chest and strutting about, a peacock fanning its feathers showing off its glory. But also, I believed him. Over the past several months I had watched him overcome many difficulties while creating great beauty out of nothing.
This didn’t mean I was going to make it easy. “Ahhhhh,” I said, “Pies take magic. Do you have magic? I mean…I don’t know.”
Thus began a discussion of his garden and his planting ability. Somehow in a series of large pots on the patio of his Northern home, he had managed to woo a variety of vegetables from tiny seeds into full-grown plants you could slice and dice and cook up in sizzling olive oil. Also, if you don’t think this whole conversation was sexy, what the hell is wrong with you?
I’m reminded of a few days prior when he told me he would teach me how to plant things; how to make them grow. “I’m terrible with gardening. I had a basil plant once that died within nine hours of me buying it. NINE HOURS.” It was his turn to grimace. “Dear God, woman. What did you do to that thing?” My nose wrinkles. I watered it too much and I probably do the same with people.
“You can’t do that,” he says, “You have to let it breathe, give it some space to grow and take in sunlight. If you over water it, you’ll rot the roots.”
Cosmic lessons abound.
And now we are in my wheelhouse. Pie. I continued to tease him. “But I have black thumbs and my cooking is magic. Maybe planting and cooking aren’t relative. I’d have to see you in the kitchen to really know.”
He swears he’s baked before and on a very tiny list, shows off his experience. “Cookies, brownies, maybe a cake?” He sounds unsure. I’m not letting anyone who’s never made a cake anywhere near pie crust. Pie crust is sacred.
I tell him I’ll teach him how to make a pie. He makes me promise to use vegan butter and a small part of me dies. Vegan butter. Every female ancestor of mine and half of the male ones just rolled over in their graves simultaneously. With a big sigh, I agree. I can hear his cheering. He thinks he’s won this round. And I let him.