JUST LIKE MOTHER USED TO MAKE
By Matthew Sanborn Smith
“Could I borrow a cup of love?” Scott said. He stood on the little concrete slab that was her doorstep, measuring cup in hand.
Rhonda’s smile stretched widely across her face. “That’s the worst pick-up line I’ve ever heard.”
“No, I’m serious. I’m not looking for a date. Well, not yet anyway. I’m making lasagna.”
“And the secret ingredient is love,” she said. She rested her weight on the doorknob, ready to slam it shut at any second.
“My mother’s secret ingredient, really. She made the best lasagna. I can’t get mine to come out right.”
“You’ve come to the wrong house, I’m afraid. Not an ounce of love left. Try Roxanne down the street. She seems to have enough love for the whole neighborhood.”
“I tried her before,” Scott said. “I got a whole cup of flooz. Made my lasagna bitter.”
“She makes my lasagna bitter, too. Ever since she met my boyfriend, Steve. Ex-boyfriend now.”
“You make . . . Lasagna?”
“No. I’m not much of a cook.”
Scott scratched behind his ear. “How ‘bout you come over and try a bit of mine? I’m starting to think that maybe I could muster up, oh, I don’t know, maybe an eighth of a cup of love. Not enough, sure, but more than I ever had before.”
“You’re sweet,” Rhonda said. “I don’t want to impose.”
“Please. I’ve been hoping for years that someone would impose upon me.” He smiled. His green eyes had little flecks of gold in them. The only color flecks Steve ever had was red and it took a lot of beer to muster even that.
“I’m going to regret doing this, I know,” she said. Rhonda lifted her T-shirt and dug her purple nails into her chest. Her fingers burrowed deeply, blood soaked her belly and her grey sweatpants. She pulled her heart out and dropped it into Scott’s measuring cup.
“See what you can get out of that,” she said.
Scott gave the pulsing muscle a squeeze, and the hand holding the measuring cup grew warm as it filled. “Geez,” he said. You’ve got enough for twenty lasagnas!”
“That’s so nice of you to say. She’d have blushed had her blood been flowing.
“Let me get that for you,” Scott said. She raised her top a little and he gently squished her heart back into place. When her face turned red he knew he had it right. “You don’t need to hold that back anymore. Not with me, anyway.”
Rhonda smiled again. She gave him a little smooch. They went next door to his place for dinner and they ate the most exquisite tasting food for the rest of their days.