For the Love of Women and Pork

Kailin Clarke • Minneapolis, MN

On our third date we cooked polenta, on top of which we generously strewed caramelized onions, mushrooms and prosciutto.

I don’t normally buy prosciutto but I’d purchased it on a whim, figuring it couldn’t hurt to go fancy. I didn’t realize what a brilliant move this would be until a couple of weeks later when she ordered yet another pork dish at a Thai restaurant.

“So you always order pork?” I asked playfully.

“Pretty much,” she said with that unnervingly natural tone, perhaps oblivious to my teasing. “It just tastes the best. Why get anything else?”

A pattern of hers was emerging—the desire to make every moment worthwhile, taken to a thrilling extreme. At the time I pretended that, despite her certitude regarding the superiority of the other white meat, I was still enjoying my chicken.

I wasn’t. I was already starting to fall in love with her, and even then my reckless mind sometimes made the mistake that would eventually ruin us: it would make a role model or even an idol of her.

Without thinking I began ordering pork everywhere, and it really did taste the best—so juicy and flavorful. I thought I was feeling good as I overloaded on pork entrees, joined the political groups she was involved with, and even adopted some of her mannerisms and ways of connecting with people.

Two sides of me battled it out. The side who confidently fell in love with her, who saw her as different but equal, was in control during our best moments together. The young, slightly lost side of me that was searching for meaning and purpose became obsessive and desperate, and only grew louder over time.

I wonder if she knows that by the time we ended things she could not hope to have known who exactly was breaking things off with her. I’d forgotten him myself to some extent as I’d piled on these delicious diversions. It would take me a long time to digest them.

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