Chef Jakub – Written By Stephen Fahey. Part 58

When I reached a proper city some weeks later I felt as though I had forgot how to breathe. I just existed. Luke still consumed me and all that I had sought had been left behind. Although I had kept the dusts and serums I had no intention of ever using them again. They had become weight of sorrow.

When I found a place to stay in the city, I took to cleaning myself and shaving my face for the first time in months. I was matted and filled with grit and dust and underneath my clothes my skin had become raw from the lack of air and water. But once I looked myself in the eye again, the real me, the familiar, clean shaven me, I paused on myself. I couldn’t help but see that child near death who was found and brought to the camp. I saw the boy who thrust himself into the search for the serum. As if by some apparition I witnessed the young man seeing Madam Sabine for the first time in the restaurant. Then the Baron and the Imam and the Bay of Ferns all swam through my mind’s eye. Then Luke, in all his silent glory appeared to me. I could feel his laughter rush through me but I could taste his fear in the air. And then I could see his bloodied hand before me, the cup beneath it, and I could smell the emptiness of losing him. But after I had seen all those things, after I had lived again through the life which I had fought for and then turned away from in agony, I felt a pulse from my depths that I could not place nor deny. It was a grace. A lulling invigoration. A forgiveness. It was a subtle sensation and yet it rose up inside me until it burned in my throat. Then the tears finally came.

All the pain and fear that had been pushed aside flooded in like the first taste of that brie under the serum’s spell. I was awash with condensed wave after condensed wave of loss, emptying me of spirit and hope. But as the wound swallowed me it cleansed me. It flushed out all the hurt that had clung onto the inside of me. It hurt me more than even Zarinah’s death, but it made me free. I let Luke go at last and I accepted his decision. When I woke the next morning I felt clean again, like I had felt as a youth in the fields around my village.

That was the moment when I began again. Not just cooking, but living for myself and not a dream. I saw the value of the happiness found in just being me. I didn’t need to be known or to rise above others. That is why I learned to cook without any serums and opened a small kitchen. It’s been a long and slow process but it’s been worth it. All those lies which I pretended to myself were real lifted and allowed me to call myself a chef. I even devised a method of cooking using sunlight. I constructed a simple rig with three circular frames stacked one on top of the other. The upper frame had a dome made dozens of discs of glass that were ground to focus light on a single point. The centre frame held a spit in its centre to hold in place the food to be cook. And the bottom frame had a large mirror, also ground to focus sunlight upward toward the centre of the spit. Ringing the bottom frame, more disks of glass focus sunlight to drive further heat into the mirror and upward to the spit, but to my sober palette food cooked this way tastes no different than spit roasted. It has tempted me many times to use the serum to taste the sun, but I never have.

I have kept my past my own. Even when I met Olenka I made the decision not to tell her. She loved me as was and I couldn’t risk her discarding me because of the sins in my past. I later learned that she would not have left me even if I been a murderer or a thief, but by then it had been so long, and I had not been that person for decades so I choose to leave my past as it was, a secret. Children came and grew and grandchildren then became the fruit of my life. But I still grow Sky Fire Oranges, which everyone but me thinks taste disgusting. I planted them in a mix of fossil dust but I have never used the serum when I eat them. To be honest, they taste awful.

To be continued…

© Stephen Fahey

Polska-IE: Udostępnij
Polish filmmakers no
Christmas Party w pr