Published in Alimentum.
It’s the way he says it. Cauliflower is chou-fleur, “cabbage flower”. For potato, pomme de terre, “apple of the earth”. For grapefruit, pamplemousse. He could not tell me the reason for pamplemousse. And then he laughed.
I am not usually attracted to hairy chests and backs. In fact, I grimaced when he first shook hands with me, black down tufting out of his knuckles. I almost pulled away. He has a wife. Three daughters. He lives on a farm, but he owns the restaurant. I cannot keep up with him.
Francis is Catholic. Are you surprised? A lapsed Catholic, but still. He goes to church on big occasions – Advent, Christmas, Easter. I consider following him, going to Easter services, sitting in the back row with my head bowed while he lifts his face and offers his pink gums to the thin wafers. Paintings of the crucifixion saturated with smoke and incense, the oil oozing out into the air. My fingers stroking gold-leafed saints made of warm wood. Sunshine filtering through red and yellow, through the waves of old stained glass, seeping into the skin of the faithful as we let the rich Latin words Sanctus Dei roll over us.