The Noise in My Kitchen, by Toni Kief
It started two weeks ago; I bought Mastering the Art of French Cooking at the used bookstore for $3. In my innocence, I flipped through the pages and scanned a couple recipes. The book was beyond my palate, so I closed the cover and removed it to my collection. I am the kind of person who buys wine by the box, and seldom uses it for gravy. I pick and spit delicate truffles, with no regard for rarity or price; a mushroom is a mushroom. That evening I settled into my chair for television and an Aunt Jemima breakfast sandwich with a slice of reheated Red Baron pizza, microwaved for an impromptu feast.
Later in the night as I slept, there was a high-pitched trill emanating from the kitchen. I convinced myself it was a passing train although I don’t live near any tracks. I roll with a shiver and search for dreams. Hours later the pots began to rattle and tattle, the pans shifted and clanked. I had a sudden urge to braise beef bones into a clear broth and to eat fishes and snails gathered from the seas far from home. I arose, and wrapped in false bravado I searched. Finding nothing, I went back to bed for a fretful toss and turn until dawn, blaming the dynamic dinner whose crusts and wrappers still occupied my trash.
Each night since, I search for slumber with a pounding heart and ears probing a tentative silence. Once I find sleep, there is a noise in my kitchen, followed with an enticing aroma I can’t identify. After a fortnight of fear and anticipation, I gave up my search, accepting I can never catch the hazy alchemist who prowls my kitchen.
At daybreak, the constant clanking stops and I nap. When I finally struggle forth, I discover a sink full of dishes and a large metal spoon resting near the stove evidence of the nocturnal intrusions. Julia Child haunts my kitchen. She quietly judges me during the day and prowls at night. I accept responsibility for buying the book and dismissing her lessons. Out of desperation, I remove it from the shelves and return it to the kitchen counter where it belongs. I open to a page, dust off my ramekins and encounter herbed baked eggs with thyme infused baguettes.
Today I feast, tonight we rest.
Toni Kief, from a small Midwestern town and a family of high spirits and laughter. Presently lives in the Washington state, she plans to stay for the view, trees, and friends. Her life story includes years in Insurance claims as one of the first women outside casualty investigators. A longtime civil rights activist, she shares stories about lunches with politicians, leaders, and artists. Toni didn’t start writing until she was sixty years old as a challenge. She joined a writer’s group that specialized in flash fiction, presently writing novels. Toni prefers to write about people of “a certain age.” Finally retired she continues to gathers stories prime for embellishment in extraordinary situations. Toni is a founding director of The Writers Cooperative of the Pacific Northwest. For additional stories and books visit her website www.tonikief.com.
See more about Toni at her author page here.