Fairy Tale Ending
Ariel felt a chill in the air and knew it was time. The leaves had already turned to flame. Summer was obviously over. The fling had to end.
Like jumping naked off the basalt outcropping into the icy froth of Bear Creek in July, the best way to take of these things was by leaping, pinkie toe first, bravely.
Sometimes Ariel parted amicably with her lover after sharing a chocolate dipped cone at the August carnival.....or a hike to watch the moonset atop Silver Star peak. No goodbyes, just the parting of fingertips and then….a new day would dawn. Other times, like with Mikael, the boy couldn’t bear to abide by the agreement, despite it being clearly stated in June. Summer only. Until the first frost. Mikael’s talk of their future spooked her. He showed no signs of leaving, so Ariel began preparing the meal, a last supper of sorts.
The fountain of youth is how Ariel liked to think of it. Leave them with their spirits bright and untarnished. Send them away smiling and filled to overflowing with a full stomach, a night of searing hot passion, and love’s last kiss. Ariel began with the delicate purple and white Fairy Tale eggplants roasted with sweet red lipstick peppers.
She sliced the eggplants in half, brushed them with Tuscan olive oil, and sprinkled them with salt from her own dried tears. The aroma that rose from the heavy clay baking dish was that of cypress and spice – the smell of faraway lands, the scent of wanderlust. As Ariel tossed the vegetables, the spoon on the terra cotta made the sound of sails unfurling, of thick soles on cobblestones, and bicycle tires on wet earth. Next she seared the oxtails that would bathe in marrow and blood for hours, a broth of passion and sexual fulfillment to feed the hungriest of desires. Then she would steep the soft flesh in red wine, sun dried tomatoes for prosperity, pickled nasturtium pods for fulfillment of unspoken dreams, rosemary for the exorcism of despair, and the fire of a large pinch of Hungarian paprika to feed Mikael’s long lost Gypsy soul.
When Mikael arrived, the table was set, the cinnamon candles lit. He swooned. Ariel fed him and lavished him with attention until he thought he might burst and melt at the same time. They finished the evening with anisette and chocolate lavender torte. Anise to repel evil spirits and loneliness. Chocolate for lust. Lavender for sweet dreams.
They fell asleep as tightly wound as vines, but when Ariel awoke just after dawn, Mikael, was indeed gone. Ariel stretched happily atop the robin egg’s blue sheets and sighed. A light snow had fallen in the night. Bear Creek gurgled at the bottom of the ravine. A flicker called to its mate. When she looked out the window, Ariel saw the outline of Mikael’s footprints headed down the long drive. By noon, they had melted away.