The peppered beef looks not too bad I think and order a plate. B. takes the same. We struggle a while before we finally find a free table. Sometimes it seems the whole university gathers at this tiny place that is rather euphemistically called „The Buttery.“ The beef smells not too tempting. Something is wrong with the smell I think, but am not quite able to define what it could be. B. asks and she does so while already wolfing down big pieces of the beef stir: How was India, by the way? Intense I say and she nods. „All the colors“, she says and of“ course the glorious food.“ I pick up a piece of carrot and don’t say that during these long days I spent in the slum, food only came into my mind as a consistent missing factor. I never count calories, but in the slum I do: „How many calories more do we need“ is a consistently ringing question at the back of my mind. B. however, praises an Indian place where she once had orgasm-like buttered chicken. I am not quite sure if I want to find out anything about the nature of B.’s orgasms, but they don’t seem to be too tempting for me. The beef tastes lousy and dry but the rice is okay. It would be as average as canteen food normally is, if not for the smell. B. looks at me and is clearly disappointed. I know that I fail in entertaining people with adventurous stories from India, but I don’t have any to tell. B. in opposite has many stories to tell. She shows me youtube videos of cats doing funny things and I try hard to stifle a yawn. I couldn’t care less and I am always astonished how amused people can get about dancing cats. And this irritating smell that makes me feel nauseous. I sniff at the green beans and the rice but they smell of nothing, I wonder if maybe my nose is playing awful tricks or I am just loosing my mind on a rainy day at the beginning of October. B. talks about a splendid wedding in Scotland that included a free bar and mountains of lobsters. Quite vividly she explains me, using her fork and knife how she cracks open such an animal. Lobster I think and try not too offensively sniff again at the beef, trying to identify the herbs that stick all over the meat. Lobster, I think again and see again the girl, who was maybe fourteen years old, pregnant, being a tiny child herself. “ We cracked her open like I lobster I think“ and now definitely feel sick. Impossible it has become to eat a single bit more. Sick, I feel, sick to the bones and throw out the food. Lemongrass, I think, it was lemongrass while scraping clean my plate, lemongrass boiled for hours, with its penetrant, repugnant, perfume-like smell and I try not too look into the waste bin. B. hasn’t interrupted yet and luckily did not even recognize that I wasn’t even listening and so I nod to her tale of that ‚hell of a wedding‘. ( I totally agree to the hell part) and try to breathe in and out. In and out.

One thought on “Beef

  1. Dear read on, I am back from my three week vacation and technology-free interlude, and I’m so happy to have time to catch up on your blog today and to discover your writing enchants me as always. This post had so much unspoken emotion and upset in it, all conveyed through the medium of a meal. Then ending, where you tried to breathe in and breathe out was particularly compelling.

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