The Secret Lives in Kitchens

Morning. The coffee is brewing, and Hall & Oates are singing, and the door to the back porch is open, letting in that cool, almost-September breeze. I like these quiet mornings when I’m the only one home. It almost feels like playing house – the way I used to when I was little. Except now it’s real. 

I went outside to water the tomato plants; I picked the ripe ones. I love the way these cherry tomatoes smell and how the scent lingers on my fingers. And I love this yellow teapot with the white polka dots, and Simone de Beauvoir, and the sturdiness of this wooden chair. 

I guess it’s strange because all the things I thought I would do ‘one day’, I’m doing now. Now that I’m not travelling; even though I’m not settled in my own place with my own things. One day is today, and it’s tomorrow, and it’s the next day too. My weakness: I’m always so hung up on ‘one day’ and the promise of all those future dreams, that I forget about the spectacular now. 

So anyway, I washed the dishes and swept the floor and drank one more cup of coffee. And that made me think about all the kitchens in the houses that line this little street, and all the kitchens in Paris, or Tokyo, or New York or elsewhere in the world, full of people doing the exact same thing. And maybe they’re listening to Louis Armstrong too or maybe they’re thinking about all the things they have to do today, or anticipating the weekend, or dreading the dentist appointment they made for 3pm.

When I think about these strangers in their strange kitchens, I have a newfound appreciation for life and people and stories. And I wonder who these people really are when they’re alone, behind closed doors, away from eyes and judgements and expectations. If they’re dancing to their favourite song even though they claim to hate dancing, or putting extra sugar in their coffee, or crying at the sink, or pining after that dream that they’ve never told a single soul before. 

Yes, I wonder at the secret lives of people in their kitchens. When they’re really and truly by themselves; when they haven’t brushed their hair yet or wiped the sleep from their eyes; when they’re not playing a part or putting on an act; when they’re wearing pajamas with the hole in the left sleeve; when they’re singing off-key and all the wrong lyrics. 

And I hope that they’re happy and honest and that they like themselves. 

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