Monday, June 08, 2015

Sunday Morning

Sunday mornings are not for this. Sunday mornings are for staying in bed even when the sun is shining through your curtains and dancing on your eyelids. Sunday mornings are for poached eggs, hangovers, and animated discussions about Saturday nights. They are for strong coffee followed by painful shits that put dimples in your rectum. They are for awkward send offs to one night stands and, sometimes, a surprise blow job from your girlfriend. But perhaps most importantly, Sunday mornings are that beautiful, fleeting period of decompression before the wrecking ball of the work week reminds you just how long you have until next weekend. The Velvet Underground knew this and the NFL definitely knows this, and for the last seven years Max Greenwald was under the distinct impression that his girlfriend sincerely understood the sanctity of Sunday mornings.
Now at 8:48 am on an uncharacteristically sunny March morning, Max was walking to Whole Foods to spend over a hundred dollars on the week’s groceries. Laura had been stomping around their one bedroom apartment since quarter of seven, making loud cell phone calls and rifling through her closet. Her parents were coming and that meant that his Sunday morning would be spent exclusively preparing for Sunday evening. She sent Max to Whole Foods with a grocery list, a time frame, and stern instructions.
A young girl with long brown hair brushed passed Max on the sidewalk. She smelled like a mixture of tropical fruit, vodka, and wet dog. Max turned and glanced quickly at her ass. She was wearing faded, high-waisted jeans. Her ass sunk and bulged in the denim which reminded Max of pulling the lever and filling those thin plastic bags at Whole Foods with cashews and almonds.
He stared up the street and saw a group of three guys walking toward him. All three seemed slightly pudgy, with fitted J. Crew shirts, tapered jeans and virtually every possible facial hair arrangement. They were talking loudly and aggressively stabbing at the air with their fingers. Max was forced to tightrope walk that sliver of cobblestones that hugs the street. His anger seemed to grow with every step.
The 11th street Whole Foods occupies the entire city block between Wadsworth and Clarkson Street. It’s a mammoth structure complete with a sit down cafĂ© and underground parking garage. The sliding doors at the entrance are in perpetual motion as patrons continuously shuffle in an out of the store. During his first visit, Max realized that he had to move through the aisles quickly and purposefully if he was to have any hope of fulfilling his grocery list. There was an indefinable yet undeniable force at work inside the 11th street Whole foods. A simple chili recipe could easily morph into a terrifying soul searching journey inevitably ending in organic soaps and unpronounceable root vegetables.
Fortunately, Max did have a purpose for visiting Whole Foods on this Sunday morning. In seven short hours, Laura’s mother and step father would be pacing around their one bedroom apartment, making hollow comments about every stick of furniture and every design choice. He would anxiously stumble through conversations letting Laura’s step dad equate his life to the definition of mediocrity.
“So your group keeps convicted criminals from going to jail? I say lock ‘em up and throw away the key!”
“I heard the City is running a $5.2 million deficit, you guys nervous about funding?”
“When you say non-profit does that mean you get a paycheck?”
As he walked through the sliding glass doors, Max unfolded the canary yellow piece of line paper from his back pocket and reviewed the ten item list. Though Max was the first to admit that Laura had a noticeable talent in the kitchen, she only seemed to enjoy cooking on special occasions. Whenever an old college friend came to visit or a family member was in town, Laura would scour cooking blogs to find a trendy, seasonal recipe. She would then tear up the kitchen for three or four hours, using every pot, pan, and utensil in their apartment. Inevitably, she would forget some minor ingredient or overcook the garnish, blame Max for the mistake and profusely apologize to the guests declaring the meal a complete disaster. The steak and heirloom tomato salad with Israeli couscous seemed simple and straightforward. If he could stay focused and navigate the Sunday morning crowd, he would be slipping into some football commentary within an hour.
The vegetable section appeared to be completely clogged by post workout twenty-somethings, so Max headed for the meat counter. Before he reached the red meat section, he had to pass the refrigerated glass cases full of seafood. He stopped and stared at the bright oranges and pinks sitting softly on top of mounds of crushed ice. Brown lobsters face menacingly toward shoppers and whole silvery fish were neatly organized into rows. He was instantly transported to the Caribbean. Max and Laura had taken a trip to Puerto Rico several Christmases ago. It was the first time the two had traveled on an airplane together. He remembered how absolutely decadent he felt eating shrimp, lobster, and crab for breakfast on white sand beach. He also remembered Laura being energetic and playful. She was always touching his shoulder and getting down his hair. He felt a warmth move over his entire body and the frenetic energy of the Sunday morning Whole Foods seemed to fade a bit.
He motioned to the man in the white lab coat behind the counter and told him he was preparing a seafood feast. Max nodded as the man discussed the migration habits of Alaskan salmon and the prodigious impact of shifting tide patterns on the world’s shrimp population. He sampled a raw oyster and smiled as the mucusy piece slimed down his esophagus. After fifteen minutes of buzzy chatter and handshakes, Max walked away confidently with four plastic bags full of fish, crustaceans, and crushed ice. He circled back to the produce section which was not mostly empty. He filled a plastic bag with bulgy heirloom tomatoes and pushed his cart to the c

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