Revelations with bread

Leavening Revelations

I had a meal with a friend once. It was revelatory.

“I think it’s your cooking,” he said between mouthfuls of unleavened bread.  “That and your fashion sense.”

So I nodded, considering the rips and the tears in my fraying blue jeans.  As I looked down at my lap, he munched away with a second bottle of wine.

Then he started again with the half-chewed slice in his teeth, “You know, it might have something to do with your gait.  The confusing, half-masculine swagger, that is.”

Swagger?  What swagger?  Stiff, hunched over, devoid of a spine – but swagger?  I could think of a hundred awkward descriptions of my character.  But “swagger” – pejorative or complimentary – did not even stretch to a fit.

“I know these are all external things, but it’s where it starts, you know?”

I didn’t.  I don’t.  And I wouldn’t.  The fault of a man in jeans and androgynous gait?  Impossible.  So I squirmed in disagreement, nervously pulling at the tops of my socks.  He, in turn, eyed my restlessness and stopped mid-mastication.

“You ok?” he asked.  I nodded.  He grunted a sarcastic assent. “It’s not easy to hear about your weaknesses,” he continued with tugs at recalcitrant loaves.  “After all, insecurity is the hallmark of just about everybody.”

Hallmark.  Huh.  Now maybe he was onto something.  I had heard a lot of the banal details of fashion faux pas, of everything wrong with the outside of me.  Until now, all I found in his banter was mounting frustration.  But insecurity – that hit on a wincing discordance.

I didn’t say anything.  Instead, I eyed his speckled, fistfuls of bread and sniffed in tune to the fumes of the wine.  For some reason, he was content with silence.  Where did the questions go?  What happened to correction?

Several minutes of silence and he finally offered me the crumbs of his bread.  “Give it a taste,” he said, lifting the plate to my lips.  Cautiously, I received it, tilting the fragments of bread to meet my tongue.  Suddenly – as the crumbly waterfall came – I realized how hungry I was.  How hungry I am.

As I licked the last of the crumbs from the basket, he sat silently content.  Eyes never wavering – oceans of blue and black – he stared at my gorging, self-feast.

Finally content, I let the plate down to the table. 

“Better now?” he smiled through oddly-bright rays of the afternoon sun.  I nodded, hands clasped on my crumb-covered lap below.

“Now,” he intoned with the sirens of angels, “what’s on your mind?”

Grasping the soonest pocket of air, swelling high with my back perpendicular to the chair, I expelled the repressions of life.  The opposite of gorging, out with it all:  admitting the heart of my sorry, sad self.

And without knowing, as he grinned in patient acceptance, I brushed the residual  crumbs from my shambly jeans.

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