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Chickpea Hummus

Second Helpings

(c) Linda Hutchison October 2017

What a tangled web we weave. I stood surveying the crowd, trying to find someone to talk to, and wondering how long I’d have to stay without making my exit look obvious. You’d arrived with a new woman – the older one from the car club – and I just wanted to melt through the floor and disappear. It was hard to believe that we’d been close less than a week ago. I was clearly easy to forget, and now completely invisible. But then it had been my choice to walk. My ex had written such a lovely letter of apology that I’d thought it was worth trying again. I’d left you to ponder the speed with which you’d rushed into our relationship. I clearly wasn’t ready to fall for someone else. I certainly wasn’t ready to settle down, but it was nice to be held by someone when I was devastated, and it was touching that you felt you should tell your parents all about me.
My ex had been heart-broken that I’d left him, but it hadn’t been enough for him to change. I was still a second-class citizen, a floozy, a shiksa. His authentically-Jewish wife had seen fit to cheat on him, and marry someone else, but she hung around to insult me for my youth, and to draw heavily on his kindness and long-suffering patience. That their daughter turned out half-decent was a miracle. And as much as my youth entranced him, it was insufficient for him to want me completely in his life, so I’d hung around the edges like a lacy curtain, fading and gathering dust as time passed. Eventually, with his daughter coming home from Israel, I knew it was make or break time, and I wasn’t waiting around for the break. There was no expectation of him making good.
So here I was, several weeks later at this excruciating party, pondering second helpings. Second helpings of my ex, which had given me whatever the opposite of chicken soup for the soul was. Second helpings of you, that had led to this current cringe fest. Now I knew what it felt like to be those exciting new socks after a few outings – discarded with the rest of the drawer-full. How could you take up so quickly with someone else, and especially someone so old!? She was at least 30. She had that brunette, shiny, page boy haircut like an overly long helmet. And she had those droopy boobs that you said really turned you off. Ugh! And what about her long-term partner? Didn’t you say that you weren’t into affairs? You didn’t even look like yourself with those new clothes she had you in. Honestly, it was making me realise that I’d made a lucky escape. You were way too malleable. How quickly would your head have been turned had we been more permanently connected?
The only second helping that was making this evening more pleasant was the hummus. I dipped in some pita bread and scooped out a mouthful. Perhaps it was time for me to realise that once should always be enough. When I knew it was time to cut and run, that’s exactly what I should do. I should never turn back like Lot’s wife, because second helpings were invariably cold and tasteless and bad for me in all sorts of ways. So, if sentimentality sends another rose-pink shower to warp my memories, I’ll wash it off quickly and turn away. What was done was done and can be left behind. My future looks way better without any of you.
599 words

Second Helpings: Work
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