Written with my Thursday night group with the prompts:  close to my heart, just like that, expert in the matter, what is different today?, surprising new discovery, no variety, just different sandwiches, one time only creation, path of least resistance, pay the price for peace, one inch at a time, special powers, formula, integrity, gate

Molly was no expert in the matter, but she couldn’t help but notice that the new chef had a special powers when it came to creating sandwiches.

“Sandwiches?” Eli repeated.  

“Yes!” Molly declared enthusiastically.  “This new young woman I hired—she’s a genius when it comes to sandwiches.”

Eli looked unimpressed.  “Come into the cafe tomorrow,” Molly insisted, “and you’ll see.”

Eli was skeptical, and he really didn’t like leaving his office during the work day, not even for lunch, but he knew he had to pay this small price to keep the peace with his wife.  He knew he owed her.  She cooked, she cleaned, she got the kids to bed at night and up and out the door in the morning.  Then she went down the street to the tiny cafe she’d been managing for the last decade and a half, long before they were married.  She didn’t bring in much money, certainly not as much as his law practice, but she was passionate about it.  The least he could do was go down there and try out one of these genius sandwiches.  It was the path of least resistance.

Molly knew Eli liked routine and homogeneity, as if life were his own personal formula.  He claimed this was a matter of integrity:  his clients knew what they were getting when they engaged him to write a contract or a will.  He was efficient and reliable—and who could argue with that?  Molly certainly wouldn’t.  But she had her secrets, and one day she bring him a surprising new discovery.

Eli waited till 1:30 to go to Molly’s cafe for a late lunch.  He hoped all the crowds would be gone by then.  He was surprised to find a tall lanky man standing at the door in a navy jacket with brass buttons and braided epaulettes on the shoulders.  “‘Who are you?” Eli asked, since his wife hadn’t told him about hiring any men.  In the past all her employees were women.  

“I am the gatekeeper,” the man said simply as he opened the door to welcome Eli in.

Just like that, Eli found himself in a new dimension.  Time stopped, but the low rumble of traffic and voices continued.  Forks, knives, spoons, glassware clicking and clinking, children singing, women laughing.  He was in a cubist painting, constant motion, all angles and perspectives visible at once, and yet everything was still.  Everything was solid and colorful and perfectly formed.  Molly dashed up to him, ebullient at his appearance.  “What is different today?” he asked.

Her lipstick was candy apple red, she wore a yellow scarf on her head.  “No variety here,” she assured him.  “Just different sandwiches.”

She offered him fruit jams and brie, artichoke hearts and turkey, sour dough and ham.  

“Everything has changed,” he insisted, feeling confused.

“Only a bit,” she said kindly.  “Just an inch at a time.  The essential remains:  you are close to my heart.”

And then he could eat something new, something he had never had before, perhaps would never have again, a one-time only creation without hesitation.  Because he knew Molly would never leave him, no matter how stubborn he was.

Photo by Allen Rad on Unsplash

3 thoughts on “Sandwiches

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