The Drama Chef

Prose – Travel – Recipes

Month: December 2016

Strawberry Coconut Parfaits

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This is Part III of Erica’s short story (Part I; Part II).

“Pass me the scones darling. Ted, don’t you hear me? The scones!” I gave her the white plate with the reindeer decorations with an awkward smile. “You don’t like them? I can make you something else” she said. I nodded no and started eating. The sooner this festive breakfast would come to an end, the better. Dad was not talking for a while now, avoiding eye contact with a generic soft smile on his lips. I was sure he wished he could be somewhere else too. I wondered where. Sally and Mom where talking gleefully, what will Santa bring this year, did you like the Cookies darling?

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Christmas. Our sad plastic tree on the corner, lit with electric lights, the ornaments scratched and outdated. Red candles on the table, stars on the napkins, glitter everywhere. Dressed in our nice clothes that didn’t fit properly anymore. Carrols on the radio. Boredom. Forced joy. Presents. Crowds in the malls. Red and golden and silver. Women with too much makeup. Men drinking too much and laughing too hard. Happy families. Kids with pink cheeks and santa bonnets. Give me a break.

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First snow in Vaud

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“How old is she?” “83 or 84, I can’t really remember anymore.” “And she lives alone up there, all alone?” “For more than 20 years now, right after the divorce with her second husband. She rented out her flat in Lausanne, she gave away most of her clothes and furniture, took 2 suitcases, 2 trains and there she was, at the village of her childhood summers.” The train is sliding around the vineyards that are soaked in rain; yellow leaves still linger on the vines. Not for much longer now. Dreamy châteux now and then, below dark cloudy skies.

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The smell of coffee, the silence of the wagon on an early Saturday morning. Old passengers reading through trashy free-press, paper bags of croissants, the smell of capucinnos dusted with cocoa powder. Swiss train life. The fabric of the seats a bit worn out by the bodies of passengers, hundrends and hundrends every month. We change to another train, they check our tickets again, greeting in French and German, just in case, changing to English if you don’t reply, move or smile. We go through colourful forests, stip hills, bridges, small chalets. Autumn postcards, wherever you look.

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She is waiting for us at the train station. Glasses, woolen scarf and matching bonnet, heavy brown coat, winter boots lined with fur. Unchanged and steady, the woman I used to thread as a kid. She gives her hand to Paul first, bonjour, echantée monsieur, all the kind words she has been performing all her life. She looks at me with an examining eye, scanning my clothes, my hair, my posture. In the end she smiles and hugs me, a short hug, a little tight and tender-to my surprise. Age must be softening her up. We walk to the chalet following a path at the banks of the small river I used to splash in as a kid. She doesn’t talk much, she’s walking ahead, Paul is glancing at me, I smile and make faces to him. We arrive.

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