Now Joan is in my kitchen. It’s warmer today so I’ve dressed her in a sleeveless shell and sky blue yoga pants that bell at her calves. The paper tabs slide up and down her (very thin) frame as she moves to the hip hop music from the stereo while chopping tomatoes. As she bends to peer into the cupboard for a bowl, the tab loses its grip. She reaches back to fold it.
“Oh look — you still have the bowl I gave you for a wedding gift,” she grins as she pulls the manila bowl with red and green stripes from the shelf. “I thought this would be perfect for making cookies.” We share a smile. She exchanges the large bowl for a smaller one from the same shelf, deftly scoops the tomatoes into the bowl, then rinses the cutting board and sets it in the sink.
“We got word that the Susanville Police Dept is surrendering all of their records on your case to us,” I say.
She steps back to lean against the counter as one arm wraps around her waist and her hand covers her mouth. “I didn’t want you to have to do this,” she says so softly that I have to tip closer to hear her.
“I know — but you would have done it for me.”
I add the simmered orzo to the bowl along with some olive oil, toasted pine nuts, lemon zest and chopped parsley before handing her the other spoon. Our eyes connect.