I drank an ale and made the gravy. The gravy was to be made over several hours the book said. Outside it was gray and Dawn said look at that rain. It hadn’t been raining before, it just started, so I looked at it and then went back to the gravy. I put the neck in first and then the gizzards, though it was hard to tell which organ was which except the heart, which slapped when it hit the pan and then sizzled inside itself. And then I thought about Alan, Heidi’s British husband: the time we met in Germany that Christmas and he showed me how to make the gravy. He was dying of cancer but still smoking, smoking in the kitchen, my mom’s kitchen, though he kept the window cracked and did his best to keep the ash out of the pot. He remarked about the blood and looked sinister as he did, said it’s important you add that. The blood was darker than you’d imagine but it all combined with the unpeeled onions and herbs and then later the broth, and soon the house was full of cheer: the scent of rendered fat and caramelized root vegetables, mirepoix. The same Christmas the door blew off the oven, mom ran out in the kitchen to see what happened and then slipped in the grease, fell on her ass.
I finished my beer and called to Dawn, time to get Charlotte (early release day, 1:45). The sky was a theater production of scene changes with no one in charge. Now it was puffy clouds and filtered sun, but we were under an “atmospheric river” they called it: that general malaise of fall that makes it so you can’t even enjoy the sun, it just makes you feel damp, sullen.
I lay on my side in the den with the sound of the laundry machine, the dryer, the spin cycle, something slapping, something turning, and it was just past 2 when I looked outside and thought it’s about to start raining again.