Dear whoever I might be praying to if there was someone out there to pray to, my mouth is on fire and by the look on his face I don’t know whether he was planning it of not. He seems rather confused by the taste of the food on his plate. I try to exhale through my nose but it doesn’t honestly help. I can feel my eyes begin to water a little from the heat and I push my chair back from the table so I can slip into the kitchen and pour not one but two glasses of milk, one just in case for him.
I put both glasses down on the table and drop back to my chair before taking a single sip of the glass. I’m trying to make it last. I suppose I should have brought the whole thing to the table. He blinks at me and offers a sheepish sort of smile and shrug. I guess he hadn’t actually planned this so I can’t blame him for the fire currently going on in my mouth. I have to wonder why he doesn’t seem to be quite on fire himself, he’s taken as much as I have.
“Is this recipe supposed to be so spicy?” Ever word fans the flames of hell in my mouth and I take a big gulp of milk instead. It helps a little and my eyes are a little dryer. He laughs lightly and shakes his head. He looks to be in no heat-pain at all, why am I the only one suffering?
“I have these new peppers growing in the garden and I know they’re hot but I didn’t know they would hold that much of a kick. I don’t find them to be too bad though.” Well, then I guess he won’t need that glass of water! I pull it back over to my side of the table and I huff at his snickering. Bad idea, that didn’t help. I stuff a bit of the potato in my mouth and just keep it there for a few moments before I feel the heat somewhat subside.
My mouth is going to burn itself to oblivion at this point. Dare I really eat that much of it all? It’s not a big plate, we never did eat much though we eat some and I screw my eyes shut. He’s still chuckling just softly and it should infuriate me but all I want to do at this point is pout at him until he stops though I know he won’t.
“I’ll prepare you a big bowl of fruits and berries drizzled with sweet honey after this, all right?” That does sound like a pleasant enough idea and I nod before going back to the food. The chicken is the culprit so I try to hide my bites with the rest. The potato, the mixed veggies, a sip of milk. It goes down well enough but by the time I’m done my mouth is still on high heat. My glass of milk is empty so I take the second one and I drink it down in big gulps.
I don’t feel so terribly bad now.
Once the table is cleared of dishes and I’ve had my third glass of milk while all he’s done is sip on some water, he prepares a couple of bowls of mixed fruit pieces and bites. He drizzles a good bit of honey on mine and sprinkles just a little bit of maple sugar on his. I know he doesn’t like sweets. I can I handle sweet better than spicy and he handles spicy better than sweet. It can be worked with in the end.
“You should totally put some of whatever that was in a container and I’ll bring it over across. See how they like spicy.”
“Now Quentin, don’t be evil. Though I suppose it might be worth it. One finally small payback for the ribbons.” I know he doesn’t hold grudges but this one has stayed with him yet and I don’t blame him. I suppose mock payback won’t hurt and it might be even funny if it turns out they handle this kind of spicy as poorly as I did.
He settles next to me on the couch with the two bowls of fruit and a small teacup full to the brim of steaming, softly coloured water. He likes his tea after meals and I don’t mind, it seems to relax him. We sit side by side, just eating our desserts quietly, listening to the music pouring from the television. We have several ‘radio’ channels on the television, when we don’t feel like watching it, usually we keep it running on one of those channels and it just pours quiet music as background noise through all of the house.
He hasn’t let me brush his hair since the ribbon incident. It’s only been two weeks but it’s a long time for me when I usually could brush it every day. So you can colour me very surprised when, after having cleared up the dishes from our dessert, he disappeared back into his room and came back out with his brush. I think my heart almost exploded. This very well was what I wanted to imagine as the final step to forgiveness.
I watch him as he settles on the floor just in front of me and hands me his brush. He turns his gaze to me and he studies me for a long moment. “Be careful.”
I’m always careful but I know he’s just trying to trust me again. I hold my breath for a moment as I tug, as carefully as I can, his hair loose from its ponytail and I slowly start to run the brush through his long tresses. They are so glossy, so shiny. It took me forever to get mine to look just the way I want it and at times I envy him the beauty of his hair.
My strokes are slow and carefully, I could do this forever really. I feel him start to relax beneath my touch and tears come to my eyes though I do all I can to not let them escape. This means the world to me and I can never forgive myself for hurting him the way I have. I just run the brush in slow strokes, from top to bottom until it all drifts smoothly through the brush’s teeth. I sigh and lean down, ready to hand him his brush over but he turns his gaze back to me and he smiles, oh he smiles. “You can keep going for a while.”
I consider and I cant my head slightly. This is a wonderful idea but the floor where he’s at is cold, I know so I scoot back on the couch slightly. “Here, why don’t you lie down and settle your hair on my lap, I’ll keep on brushing your hair from this angle, the floor is cold there and I don’t want you to get sick.”
He ponders the offer for a moment before he stands and stretches and I’m almost afraid to have broken the moment. He holds his hand out. For a moment I think he’s asking for his brush back but he’s asking for my hand. So I put my hand to his and we get back up. We head off to the wall where the fireplace is. The floor is soft and plushy here and it’s more than warm in front of the fireplace. I guess he wants a full head brushing and just a from-the-side thing.
I shake my head, amazed at what life flings my way and as I settle down on the couch, he settles on the floor between my legs. Something flares a little in me, desire for him, but I focus on the brush in my hand, on its slow strokes through his hair and on those sweet little sigh of pleasure and contentment he breathes. I have no words for how much I appreciate this kind of life we have. It’s just perfect.