“Well I have to go to the store; I’m cooking dinner tonight.”
There was a pause.
“You? You’re cooking dinner?”
“Yeah, “nervous chuckle, “I do know how to cook.”
“She sounds doubtful, “Yes yes of course, its just….”
I wait, slightly annoyed.
“… its just… Well, why are you cooking dinner.”
I assure her I haven’t lost a bet. “Its just something I want to do. Matthew is coming over for dinner and I thought I would cook.”
“Oh!” The pieces have fallen into place, “How nice! What are you making?”
I told her and the conversation moved on; sister’s college choices, the weather, price of milk, dangers of crossing the street. When I got off the phone I glanced over and caught the eye of a matronly woman in a yellow tracksuit who smiled at me.
“Making dinner for your boyfriend?”
“Yeah, well hopefully.” I decided not to give this stranger the whole run down of how he isn’t actually my boyfriend, how we aren’t actually using labels to define our relationship, how that is at once liberating and frustrating. “If this train ever starts moving again and I can get to the store.”
“Be careful,” she admonished me patting her stomach, “I cooked for my man once…and that’s how I got this.”
I couldn’t tell if she was plump or pregnant so I just smiled and ring the “STOP REQUEST” bell.