Comfort Food

A dark mist, thick as cloud, swirled across the face of the Earth.

It was not yet night, but it was as dark as if it were. The streetlights had been turned on in the cities, to fight off the gloom, to suggest normality.

It hadn’t really worked; most people had fled to the hills – What is it about impending doom that sends people out into the countryside? – or had gone underground or were in the midst of a last minute, panic-stricken flight towards various houses of worship.

Magda and David, though, had stayed put. What was there to do, really? They had planned this evening months ago, well before the mists had begun, before the scientists had announced that Earth’s days were numbered. They really didn’t think there was anything they could do to stop what had apparently been in motion for as long as the planets themselves had been circling the sun. Nor did they believe there was anywhere particularly safe to hide.

And Richard and Eve were game. They had been looking forward to coming to dinner, too, and had reached pretty much the same conclusion about the end of the world as their friends.

Magda was in the midst of preparing what she was fondly referring to as her “end of the world supper” when their guests arrived.

“It smells wonderful in here!” chorused Richard and Eve as David opened the door. They smiled with sincere warmth, seemingly oblivious to the wisps of darkness that threatened at the door and wrapped around the windows.

Richard shook hands with David as they entered, his brow furrowed somewhat, his salt and pepper hair and the shoulders of his woollen overcoat dusted with the snow-like substance that had been blowing around with the mist. He put a hand on Eve’s back, helping her off with her coat. She was petite, elfish, with long, blond hair, and had dressed for the occasion in one of her hand-made dresses, this one grey wool with a red velvet sash tied at the waist.

Magda’s voice greeted them from down the hallway in the kitchen. “If the world was ending,” Magda replied wryly, “I would want to eat this dinner as my last meal.”

The house, though starkly white with soaring ceilings and open spaces, was not cold, but welcoming and comforting. David had dimmed the lights, lit candles and placed them around the room. Their light danced from the countertop and the centre of the white marble dinner table. The effect was cozy, golden, and it banished the fear and worry and darkness that surrounded the house.

Magda opened the oven, pushing back her short, black hair back with one hand as a burst of fragrant, lemon and thyme-scented heat engulfed her. She poked at the chicken roasting on the remains of several quartered lemons.

“What is that I smell?” asked Richard, coming over to peer in at the dinner. The oven lights  momentarily reflected like sparks in his dark brown eyes as he bent close and inhaled deeply, the wrinkles on his forehead smoothing as he relaxed.

“It’s zataar. Have you heard of it? It’s a Middle Eastern mixture, made of thyme, sumac, salt and sesame seeds. I’ve rubbed it all over the chicken, along with olive oil and lemon juice, and also mixed it into the caramelized onions and mini eggplants. I hope you like it, it’s sort of everywhere! We’re also having rice with lemon wedges and I made some tahini. It’s a cozy, sunny sort of meal.”

“Hi, we’re glad you came,” she added, giving him a hug.

“We used our own thyme,” explained David with pride. “For the zataar. We had been growing it on the roof and it was a small bush by the time I decided I should use it.”

A shadow passed across his face, briefly clouding his blue eyes before he continued. “You know, when the mists started to take over. It’s amazing how much bush it takes to make a cup of dried thyme,” he finished a bit wistfully.

When dinner was ready, David opened the bottle of 40 year old Margaux he had been saving for a special occasion, and filled the four glasses.

“To the people we chose to spend our last night with; thank you for joining us tonight,” he said as he held his glass aloft, the ruby coloured wine glowing in the candlelight.

Four heads bowed over the plates and they descended into a momentary silence as the flavours of sunbaked earth and warm winds, of lemon and olive oil and thyme and sesame enveloped them.

It was, indeed, exactly the right meal to dispel the murky darkness awaiting them.

Once the dishes had been cleared away, Magda brought out more sunshine: an orange, olive oil and pine nut cake and a fruit salad which sparkled in all the colours of the rainbow; pomegranate, blood oranges, yellow pears, kiwi, blueberries, plums.

They talked late into the evening, lingering over their dessert plates, picking the fruit bowl clean.

They spoke of the music that moved each of them most, they spoke of Eve and Magda’s writing and of their favourite books, they spoke of art, food, and of a little house on the edge of a cliff that looked out over the ocean. Richard and Eve had been planning to move out there one day. One day.

When at last it was time to go, Richard and Eve rose from the table, hugged David and Magda goodbye and, as though it was any other night, parted with the promise to get together again soon.

As they watched their friends disappear into the night, David and Magda remarked at the darkness of the night. It was almost possible to imagine that there was no mist, that it had all been a dream, or a movie, or their imagination. That it was just any other overcast night.

They locked the door, went upstairs and got ready for bed.

Before she turned out her light, Magda smiled and said, “that was a nice night. The dinner was good and they were the perfect people to have over on a night like tonight.”

David agreed. He turned out his light, too, and pulled Magda close.

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This post was inspired by the November 1 Daily Prompt. It took me a month, but I was waiting all through NaNoWriMo to write this.

Here are some fellow bloggers’ posts from the same prompt:

  1. Bagels | Nature Activities
  2. Baked potato | Bright Moments Catcher
  3. Pacman | Bright Moments Catcher
  4. Fried eggs reading Business Magazine | Bright Moments Catcher
  5. Cajun chicken caesar salad | Steve Boer Photography
  6. Last Meal | Finale to an Entrance
  7. Daily Prompt: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry… | Destino
  8. Daily Prompt: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry | Under the Monkey Tree
  9. Dinner | Mara Eastern’s Personal Blog
  10. My.Vivid.Visions | Daily Prompt: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry…- At My Village
  11. The sky has done falling, so what’s for dinner? | We Live In A Flat
  12. Daily Prompt: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry | Awl and Scribe
  13. Daily Prompt: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry… | Memory Bank of the Nocturnal
  14. Last meal on Earth | Motherhood and Beyond
  15. Any Last Words? | sayanything
  16. “Dinner” | Relax
  17. the world is ending – bring me FOOD! | wannabepoet
  18. Daily Prompt: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry… | veryvanessalynn
  19. of (double) dates | Anawnimiss
  20. Rob’s Surf Report
  21. 209. Eat, Drink, and Be Merry… | Barely Right of Center
  22. What If The World Doesn’t End Tomorrow, Who Cleans The Mess? | The Jittery Goat
  23. Peace | Life is great
  24. The End is Nigh…. | Kate Murray
  25. The world is ending and it’s my turn to make dinner | James Clegg
  26. Cheese and garlic in windmills | The verbal hedge
  27. Die-Dine [Daily Prompt: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry…] | unknowinglee
  28. Good Eats | CurTales
  29. Supping with Mephistopheles! | alienorajt
  30. Daily Prompt: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry… | The Story of a Guy
  31. Daily Prompt: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry… | Crow Arrow, Inc.
  32. 152. Mom’s Rice Pudding with Pistachio. | Sofie’s Diary
  33. At World’s End | Flowers and Breezes
  34. Daily Prompt: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry… | Basically Beyond Basic
  35. Daily Prompt: Eat, Drink and be Merry | Chronicles of an Anglo Swiss
  36. Last Supper | crookedeyebrows
  37. The Sky is Falling, So Lets eat and Drink and Be Merry | Kansa Muse
  38. Daily Prompt: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry… « life n me!
  39. Eating, Drinking, and the Merryment that Ensues | cagedbutterfly1
  40. Daily Prompt: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry . . . | A Little Sip of Lemmon-ade
  41. Daily Prompt: A FINAL MEAL BEFORE OBLIVION | SERENDIPITY
  42. Daily Prompt: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry… | End of the World in Thanksgiving style | reyoflight
  43. Daily Prompt: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry… | My Atheist Blog
  44. Last Supper | Fruit Salad
  45. Death Is Like That | Just Visiting This Planet
  46. Daily Prompt: Last Dinner Thanksgiving | Food and Everything Else
  47. For Tonight, We Dine | A Sign Of Life
  48. I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire | djgarcia94
  49. Its the End of the World | Winding Road
  50. Daily Prompt: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry or Just Have Really Good Sex « Morning Pages
  51. Eat, Drink, and Be Merry… | Punch-Drunk
  52. My Last Day | Nekoruchii: Life of a Commoner
  53. I’m Hungry, We Can Die Tomorrow. | pierceeff
  54. Halloween | My Creative Days
  55. Daily Prompt: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry…Dinner | Around and About The Pacific Northwest
  56. Pity The Living, and, Above All Those Who Live Without Love | Catching A Scent of Salt…
  57. The Dinner | The Visionary Hollow
  58. Taste Of Autumn: Sweet Treat | Taking One Day At A Time
  59. Daily Prompt for Eat, drink, and be merry: The Golden Hour | Fika After Fifty Digital Photography and Art
  60. The Last Supper | Momma Said There’d Be Days Like This
  61. Daily Prompt: Dinner | Chronicles of a Public Transit User
  62. November Challenge: Day 1 | E. W. Morrow
  63. Eat, Drink, and be Merry ~ For Tomorow We Die | thisblogisepic
  64. Daily Prompt: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry… {must} | IESKRIEN
  65. Daily Prompt: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry | Pomme Garden
  66. Eat, Drink and Be Merry | Drops of Ink
  67. Daily Prompt: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry… | Words We Women Write
  68. Daily Prompt: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry… « The Blogging Path
  69. My last supper | Life as a country bumpkin…not a city girl
  70. The Apocalypse Buffet | tinypurpleme
  71. Eat, Drink and be Merry | Danny James
  72. Eat and be merry | ferwam
  73. My Last Supper Before I Die … | Life with Tess
  74. This is the end… | Evanesco Waffles
  75. Dinner and a Wedding | tjbarkerseattle
  76. Daily Prompt: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry… | Nola Roots, Texas Heart
  77. Science Inspires | A Dinner Party | beachlog
  78. The Last Supper | Reflections and Ruminations
  79. A Pomegranate Tree Inside of Me | The Novice Gardener
  80. It’s Not All Dust and Dirt… | rfljenksy – Practicing Simplicity
  81. Daily Prompt: Eat, Drink, and Be Merry… | Your Daily Dose
  82. It’s More Than “Eat, Drink, and Be Merry,” You Know | Not the Family Business!
  83. Last supper … | 365 And Counting
  84. Daily Post – The Last Supper | adorablyobnoxious
  85. Last meal, but not quite! | Historiefortelling
  86. Eat, Drink, and Be Merry… | The Nameless One

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