The best thing since sliced bread

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Review Chain


The best thing ever invented, you tell me one morning, is sliced bread.



"Really?"



"Yeah," you say, waving your buttered slice around for emphasis. Your fingers will be smeared with butter, and I know that later, you will complain about it. For now, though, this is a necessary
part of your explanation. "I mean, it's obvious, isn't it?"



(TW for obsessive-compulsive behavior and a nonverbal shut-down.)

Submitted: August 01, 2018

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Submitted: August 01, 2018

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The best thing ever invented, you tell me one morning, is sliced bread.

"Really?"

"Yeah," you say, waving your buttered slice around for emphasis. Your fingers will be smeared with butter, and I know that later, you will complain about it. For now, though, this is a necessary part of your explanation. "I mean, it's obvious, isn't it? This - this is perfection. It's got everything! Texture - soft, but crunchy on the outside, and the teeth sink into it easily, but not too easily. Taste, of course, because sliced breadisbread, and smell! Ah, the scent of freshly cut bread... It even looks good, look: thin bubbles, the golden brown of the crust, and the crumb looks so inviting you'd beg to sleep in it."

You look at me then, grinning proudly, and I laugh.

"What," you say, grinning even wider now, "you don't think I'm right?"

"Let's see..." I say, and lean over to bite into your toast. You make a half-hearted attempt at protesting. "Oh no, you're definitely right."

You push my head away from you with greasy fingers, laughing through the yelling. "That was my slice! You bread thief!"

"Can’t keep the best thing ever invented just for yourself, that'd be selfish!" I say in mock scandal. You snort.

"You could have made your own slice."

"Oh, I will. But I just couldn't wait, you made me too hungry with your sensuous description."

"Ew! It wasn't sensuous, you filth!"

 

Later, when your stomach is full of bread, it will take you nearly ten minutes to wash the butter off of your fingers.

"It's just so sticky, you know?"

I can't argue with that.

 

"No but, really, sliced bread is just the best, you know?" You're holding a box of pasta in your hand and gesturing wildly to the shelves of canned goods. You've always been an animate orator. "It's just so versatile! Breakfast? Just add some butter and jam, or maybe some honey - unless you prefer chocolate unhealthiness, in that case knock yourself off!"

You don't notice it, but you barely avoid hitting an old lady in the head when you raise your two arms to the ceiling. I flash her an easy smile, but she's too busy glaring at you to notice. You're just like that - always the epicenter of the room, a true catalyst of attention. It's like I barely exist sometimes.

"Wanna have lunch? Just put some cheese and tomato in there, maybe some meat if you're not vegan, and you've got a sandwich!"

It's grounding, in a way.

Whatever I do, however much I feel like I'm embarrassing myself - you'll always be there to steal the gazes away from me.

It makes interacting with people a whole lot less scary.

"But what about brunch, you ask? Well fear not, commoners, for there's nothing better than a sunny side-up egg on a gorgeous slice of bread! Live up your Ghibli dreams!"

"The food in those movies is just decadent."

You nod gravely at me, then swiftly swirl on your heels and grab a jar of German gurkens off the shelves. You raise it, high, above your head - it looks like a scene straight out of the Lyon King - and promptly put it down with the rest of our stuff. You make sure it doesn't look off in the cart, among mountains of jam, butter and vegetables, valleys of pasta and beaches of flour. It takes a few seconds, but you finally figure out what's wrong - the label on the jar is facing sideway. You turn it, smugly, just enough that the label is now facing straight ahead.

"And if you want to eat dinner instead," you resume, arranging a few things here and there in the cart, "you can just make small pizzas on it! What! Mind-blowing, I know! Once again, Italian food comes to the rescue. What would we do without bruschettas, hm? Gabriella?"

You say that last sentence holding a leek like a mic in front of my mouth. I put on my most serious expression, and say:

"We would die, Suzuko."

"Exactly!" You shout, loud enough to turn heads, and carefully set the leek back into the cart. You take the tissue I hand out with a grin, wiping your gloves with thorough care. They were a gift from me, those gloves. Bright yellow, like a kid's rubber boots. I bought them on a whim when I saw them in the store, and hid them somewhere I knew you wouldn't look until finally, two months later, your birthday came. I still remember your tears then, like liquid shooting stars. They flew off but their image was printed on my brain.

You keep listing ways to eat sliced bread throughout the entirety of our shopping trip. It makes the cashier smile, even through the utter fatigue etched into the lines of their face.

 

Ever since I've known you, I've stopped buying bread in the mall's bakery aisle.

I took so many pictures on the day we did our grand bakery tour. We both got stomach ache at the end of the day, but we did find the perfect slice. It was worth it just to see your smile.

 

You're not talking about bread anymore by the time we get home. Traffic was bad, and staying in the car for too long makes you antsy. You took your shoes off, curled into a ball on the passenger seat, and twisted and twisted, twisted your brightly colored finger spring. Still, when I offered to drop you off so you wouldn't have to endure through my hunt for a free parking spot, you shook your head.

I thought that perhaps you didn't want to leave me alone to do something that you knew I hated.

As it turns out, you wouldn't have been able to get to the flat on your own.

It takes me some time, once the car is parked, to gather all the groceries. You use those minutes to put your shoes back on, but you wait until you're sure I'm ready to go to step out of the car. When I ask if you'll be okay to walk, you give me a nod and gesture at me to lock the car - you know I always forget - and then we're off.

I want to ask what caused it. I want to ask if I can help. I want to ask if you need anything. But I know better.

It took a while to learn. To adjust. But I know you better now - I understand the signs and I know when is the right time to offer help. Right now is not one of those times.

Upstairs, you stand next to the kitchen's table as I put the groceries away. You took both your shoes and socks off, and the wooden floor creaks as you rock yourself softly. Forward, backward, all in sync with your breaths. The creaking is familiar - comforting, almost. When it stops, I leave the vegetables to you. I feel the cold breath of the fridge as you start breaking the greens of the leeks so it will fit inside the veggie drawer. I'm finished before you, so I stuff the bags into our bag of bags, then fill two glasses with water. You won't drink yours right away, but you will hold it.

 

You like the sensation of holding a liquid, you told me once. It reacts to your every move, even those you cannot feel yourself.

I wonder if you noticed that we behave like liquids with each other.

 

"I lied."

Hearing your voice drags me out of the slumber I was slipping into. You smile down at me, then drink a few sips of your water. I thought maybe you wouldn't, this time.

"There's something even better than sliced bread," you go on. I push myself up against the headboard of our bed. "It's you. You are."

"Yeah?"

It doesn't take long for a smile to bloom its way across my face. It must be a smug one, because it makes you snort.

"Sorry, did I say better than? I meant best since," you say to the ceiling, but you're struggling to hold back one of your brightest smile.

"Well," I say then, leaning closer but not quite touching yet, "you smile is definitely better than sliced bread to me." You snort again. "Okay?"

"Okay," you say, and lean your shoulder against mine.


© Copyright 2018 Wulfrann. All rights reserved.

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