Uh oh,” I said to myself when I saw the slices of lemon she’d twisted into möbius strips and then placed precisely at eleven and one o'clock on my plate. “This is new.”
I didn't really mention that I’d noticed, though, because I wanted to see how things developed, to watch what direction this issue of pleasing the eye as well as the palette might take, to see if there was an advantage for me hidden there somewhere.
Over the weeks that passed, I found myself eating the shells of ripe tomatoes she’s layered like the petals of roses and filled with deviled chicken; I ate toast cut to resemble the symbols found on playing cards and she put fresh raspberry jam on the hearts and the diamonds and she put black currant preserves on the spades and the clubs.
I would nod in a noncommittal manner at each of these presentations but I would also make low noises that could be taken for warm appreciation. Sometimes I would raise my eyebrows in way that could be interpreted as delighted amusement.
I ate palm trees made from carrot sticks and jalapeño peppers; I ate an entire canned ham sculpted into an entire school of goldfish with kalamata olive bubbles; I also ate the arabesqued watermelon rind that doubled as my salad bowl. I began to make more noises at meal times, noises more obviously associated with approval. I began to say things like “Would you look at that?”
With the swinging door held open, my palm flat against it, I saw her knives spread along the kitchen counter, her back to me as she obliviously bent herself to transform a rib roast into some marvelous, colorful creature.
And parsley. There was parsley everywhere.