EXCERPT 4

      

Each evening when we sat down to one of my elaborate dinners, I followed the same routine. Seated across from my husband at our modest kitchen table, I’d study Ellis like a detective in the room with a suspect—tracking his facial expressions, looking for clues as he took his first bite of the evening’s meal. I’d scrutinize the crumpling of his jaw muscles as he chewed and absorbed the flavor. Without fail, I would be disappointed as I searched for a decipherable flash of approval on his face. But stone-faced, he simply ate the food that was placed before him.

 

“Ellis, um—do you like it?” I was annoyed at myself for asking, but I couldn’t resist.

“Uh-huh.”

“It’s a recipe from that new French cookbook.” I’d say this just to say something, not letting on that it had taken me two hours before I left for school and another hour in the late afternoon.

“Hmm… it doesn’t taste French.”

 

I tried carefully to arrange my face so as not to reveal the letdown I was feeling. I kept hoping I could touch his heart with my cooking or that he would at least appreciate the effort, but the dinners were accompanied by a stillness that permeated our apartment.