By J. Tanner Kaler
It is a truth universally acknowledged that if dinner crashes into the wall mere inches from your head, you messed up somewhere. A lesser-known truth is that, if dinner crashes into the wall mere inches from your head for the fourth time this month, it may not be entirely your fault.
This is the truth Adam Blascowicz was reflecting on tonight as tuna casserole careened passed his head. While her cooking skills had been steadily declining, Molly’s aim had gotten better. That casserole used to be amazing: heavy, creamy, full of gravy to sop up with biscuits. Now it was a nightmare: heavy, creamy, full of gravy that ran down the walls and caked into the molding.
He didn’t even flinch anymore. Hell, he almost moved his head into the path of the oncoming Pyrex, just to get it over with.
The first time Molly had thrown dinner, it was because he “made a face” and that hurt her feelings. “Just because I don’t make the same things as your stupid mother doesn’t mean you can make me feel like garbage!” she had screamed as the plate shattered against the fridge. Truth is that she had accidentally left a whole clove of charred garlic in the mofongo, which is a thoroughly unpleasant experience. That had been over a year ago, and Adam had simply learned to tolerate the overwhelming garlic—not a plate of mofongo had been served since that didn’t contain at least two whole cloves.
That was the week he’d started sleeping on the couch, now that he thought about it.
The next wall-served dinner was about three months later. Tired of tasting garlic, Adam had surprised Molly by cooking for her. He’d called his mother’s babcia and gotten her old recipes for bigos (a hunter’s stew) and kopytka (potato dumplings).
“Just call them gnocchi then,” she said when he explained kopytka that evening. “It sounds better. More appetizing.” Even back then, he’d already lost the energy to argue with her. Food started flying almost immediately, and Adam learned two things about sauerkraut: one, Molly didn’t like it—at all—and two, it really stuck to the wall, leaving a pretty gross stain. Of course, Molly hadn’t helped clean anything; she stormed out saying she “needed air” and didn’t come back until late.
Not that Adam cared when she’d come back because, now that he thought about it, that was the night he’d started sleeping with Kendall.
He thought about Kendall now, hearing the casserole dish crash behind him. The only thing she’d ever thrown at him was a pillow the first time he’d tried to watch her change. She couldn’t cook to save her life, but at least she couldn’t throw, either. She made him happy, and that was something he hadn’t realized he was missing. That’s probably why he’d chosen to tell Molly about her.
Which, now that he thought about it, was why he was turning about, ignoring the casserole dripping down the wall, why he was going out the front door to his truck, why he never looked once in his rearview mirror.
This, now that he thought about it, was why he was going to be okay.