‘Is there anything I can do?’

‘Yes. You can pour the wine’.

‘The most important job of all’, I joked, as I calamitously opened draws at random. I hoped it wouldn’t show me up if it was one of those intractable bottle openers. The type of cork screw without the leavers and that are usually only used – impressively and effortlessly – by a waiter in a restaurant. And usually with one hand. I turned back, perplexed, as I saw him adding the frozen lime leaves, the lemon grass and miso paste into the sizzling pan.

Indeed, ‘I’ll cook dinner for us tonight’ slowly segued into an amazing scene. This was, dare I say it, cuisine. Proper cooking. Skill and ingredients and flavours and measurements enacted as if a meal was merely being ‘rustled up’. It became quickly imperative to present an easily opened bottle of wine. To my dismay, the cork-screw was of the variety I failed time and time again to use. Comparatively, I was a novice in all areas of the kitchen. As if it in any way mattered, I was filled with dread and humiliation as the cork tore like clockwork. I admitted my abject failure instantly.

‘Ah! What a tragic sight!’ he wailed. We both chuckled and he kissed me.

‘There’s an actual usable one in my room – I’ll go get it’.

As he climbed the stairs I gave a perfunctory stir to the effusing broth. The mint green had been diluted by coconut milk. I dipped the spoon lazily across the surface and contemplated why watching him cook dinner was so miraculous.

He emerged and asked me to resume duty with the stubbed cork.

‘Here, show that lame cork who’s boss’.

I poured out generous measures of wine and left his glass by the steaming wooden spoon. At that precise moment, he retrieved the meatballs he had made earlier from the fridge.


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