Two Hearts

After months passed and we could read each other better, a tentative balance was slowly created. He could sometimes sense when I needed to spend a night alone, and I was learning how to let him in when all I wanted to do was watch CSI and take a bath.  I tried, he tried, and even though we kept going, planning holidays, meeting families and falling even more in love, there was always a little voice inside me that wanted to retreat.

Then came the chicken. One night, when he was off with some other sweaty guys trying out his new softball bat, I started to make dinner.  I had defrosted a package of Whole foods chicken cutlets.  I chopped jalapenos, onion, and garlic and tossed them in a pan with warm olive oil. The chicken, carefully trimmed of its fat, followed, as did canned tomatoes, a little lemon rind, basil and balsamic. I covered it and simmered it gently on a low flame.  I drained the pasta that I’d made, went back to the stove to spoon some of the rich sauce over the chicken and that’s when it happened.  When I opened the pan, it was right there, glaring at me through bits of shiny olive oil and dried basil. The internal tug of war between the single me and the couple me had come to a delicious end:   the filets, side by side, looked exactly like two hearts drawn carefully by a cartoonist.