Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


by Laura Stamps

I take a bite and shut my eyes
to savor it.  “This is incredible,”
I say.  “You’re lucky to live
so close to a good restaurant.”
I shake my fork at him.  “But
you could have cooked this
yourself.  It’s easy.”  He pours
more spring water into my glass.
“That’ll never happen,” he says.
When I agreed to stay for dinner,
he ordered three plates of food
for me.  Roasted butternut squash
sliced in thick rings, smothered
with maple syrup.  Black beans
mixed with walnuts and shredded
coconut over a bed of spinach
leaves.  Sweet potatoes and
raisins simmered in apple juice
next to a mountain of brown
rice.  It’s a vegan feast.  And
I intend to eat all of it.  I do.
I take another bite.  This time
I moan.  “Total nirvana,” I say,
and he laughs.  “I’m glad you
like it,” he says.  “I’ve never
seen anyone enjoy food so much.
It’s just a bunch of vegetables.”
I wave my fork at his medium
rare steak, a chargrilled island
sitting in a pool of crimson.
“You don’t know many vegans,
do you?” I ask.  He looks down
at his bloody plate.  “Evidently,
not,” he says.  I lick maple syrup
from my lips.  “Yummmmmm,”
I say and spear a raisin plump
as a marble.  “Let me tell you
about vegans.  We eat all the time.
We eat a lot.  And we love it.
Or at least I do.”  He stares at me
like he’s never heard a woman
admit that.  “I’ve noticed,”
he says.  The ice cubes shift in
my glass, clicking against each
other beneath the garnet glaze
of the setting sun.  “Hunger,”
I say, “is my friend.”  I corner the
last piece squash.  “I understand,”
he says.  And smiles,
all canines and incisors.

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