Salt & Pepper
Words can cure a bad day. Did you know that?
Yesterday I had worked the morning shift at the coffee shop and had gone in to help close up shop later that afternoon. Still, I finished up my work before he finished his so I took a quick shower and then a look at my fridge. Ground beef, onions, lettuce, tomato, bell peppers, peas, and balsamic vinaigrette.... Cheap homemade tacos and a salad it was.
He walked in at about the time I realized the ground beef needed salt, pepper, and maybe another chef in order for it to start tasting good. When I slapped a warm tortilla on his plate, I temporarily wished that I had better cooking skills to impress him with. More realistically, I moved on to wishing that I hadn’t attempted to cook him anything so early on in our relationship. There was still time for him to take an exit off of this Jade Highway. Later on, it would have been harder to leave me for minuscule but relevant reasons like my cooking abilities, bland tasting beef or no bland tasting beef.
We're slowly learning that our diets may just be the ultimate Olive Theory Situation. So he eats all of the spicy salsa, and I get all of the cherry tomatoes on the table. He talks about adventures he had while trying to stitch his denim symmetrically, and I tell him how I spilled a beverage at work during a crazy rush of customers. He tells me about how he gave into yogurt despite his lactose intolerance, and I tell him about how I devoured an almond milk smoothie as a satisfied Paleo-eater (for a month!). He tells me about this 3D printer that made little samples of lungs with cancer, and I tell him about little Johnny out on the courts that has so much potential as a tennis player. We go back and forth though he plays listener much more than I do. Still, conversation is easy and flowing.
After dinner, we put the dishes away. We had to head out because he had a second job to attend to. Working two jobs myself, it’s nothing out of the ordinary to be constantly on the go. However, when it comes to trying to coordinate my own 2-job schedule with someone else’s 2-job schedule, I’m still a rookie.
I scooped the refried beans into a plastic container when he walked behind me and wrapped his arms around me. We were both a little tired and worn. Reading my mind, he calmed my worries.
“We’ll make it work,” he said.
I didn’t reply.
“You know why?” he asked.
“Because I care about you.”
Such a small amount of words all simply put. A few sounds to make language that expresses he’s going to make an effort because…he cares about someone. And that someone is me. How about that?
I turned around and pressed my face to his chest and let his arms surround me. When I first met him, he had told me he was a hugger. I never thought it would be such a perk, but on a Wednesday when I spilled an Americano over the countertops, fucked up two orders, and was indirectly responsible for a liquid explosion in the giant walk-in refrigerator at work…A hug couldn’t be more valuable to me.
How strange is it that simple words that make up sentences can fill my heart with so much care and kindness that it hurts? How lucky are we when we find those who choose to say the little things that make a big difference? And how important is it that we understand how these words make us feel so that when we need to say something, complicated or simple as it may be, we express it to the ones we care about so they know tasteless beef on a Wednesday is okay.
Sometimes we don’t need to feel like we are the world. Sometimes we just need to feel like we are enough. If someone is enough for you, tell them. If you’re enough for someone, show them.