Tomorrow Never Knows, part two
Fergus Bakes Banana Bread
Fergus decided it was a good day to try something new.
Neala had previously shared her banana bread recipe with him. He presumed it was all part of a “give a man a fish and feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime” strategy on her part. Perhaps she was fed up of sharing her food with him, he reasoned, so he decided to give it a go. “How hard could it be?”, he reckoned.
He had all of the ingredients, the oven was preheated to 350 degrees, and he was off to the races.
As he mashed three almost rotten bananas and melted the butter, his thoughts drifted toward Neala.
Sweet and salty Neala - she was a complicated sort.
Sure, she talked tough and she put on a brave front. She could be fiercely independent, opinionated, and brazen. But there was a certain softness to her as well. She could go on and on about all of the ills of the world. In her next breath, though, she’d be taking up the cause for a less fortunate kindred spirit or revealing something delicate or intimate about herself - not in so many words, but rather with the expression on her face or simply in the way she held herself. Her non-verbals sometimes spoke more loudly than her words.
Just the same, Fergus could talk to her… and she would listen. And not just passively, but intently, repeating his words back to him or rephrasing them to show that she was trying to understand. She seemed to “get” him, without pretence and without judgement. Rather, with her full attention.
There was just something about her. He couldn’t quite put his finger on it. But oh how he’d like to…
Not as an object, though. Neala was real and she had layers; and some of those layers, he sometimes imagined peeling away. She stirred feelings and interests in him that he had previously resigned himself to having buried with his late wife, Anna, rest her soul.
Neala was her own person. And she was easy on the eyes.
She had as her most noticeable features those tired eyes that twinkled when she laughed… those beautiful lips that quivered when she mouthed the lyrics to the music playing on the radio… those gorgeous legs that went all the way up to her hips and made an ass out of themselves…. And that ass, though.
“Go easy, Fergus, you fool!”, he shouted at himself, snapping out of his reverie. He was burning the butter on the stove and spilling the flour and sugar, all agog with visions of what Neala’s bum might look like bare naked.
He might need a drink.
Steadying himself, he beat an egg and added it along with what he was able to salvage of the melted butter to the dry ingredients and gross-looking mashed banana. Seriously, how much would it cost him to go down to the local bake shop and just buy a damn loaf? But no, this was more personal. This was special. And he had to admit that he wanted to impress her.
He added a pinch of salt, a dollop of vanilla extract, and said a small prayer that he was correct in adding baking powder and not baking soda. He finished mixing it all up and poured it into the pre-greased loaf pan.
Then he placed it in the oven and set the timer, hoping for the best but bracing for the worst.
He sat down and poured himself two fingers of rum - one for courage and one for good luck.
Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed reading this story, here is the next chapter:
About the Creator
Ms. Carroll is a 40-something year-old veteran public servant and mother of three adult children. She and her partner Hal live in Amherst NS with a sweet, anxiety-ridden rescue dog. Shelley loves running, red wine, and laughter.
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