From the series: Old, Embarrassing Shit that Lies Dormant on Writer’s Cafe That’s Gonna Get Lost if I Don’t Transplant it Somewhere. So here’s its new home.
A life has flavor. Or not. Her life is chicken broth. Pure but, by itself, rather bland. She sits and awaits people to come savor her. She awaits salt to come to her, to give her some zest, with hope of returning very little to him. But nobody comes.
She sees people spending their time enjoying luscious and savory dishes of things like pastas with meats and vegetables of all sorts instead of feasting on bland chicken broth. That makes sense but she pretends to have a hard time understanding why no one wishes to dine on meer chicken broth when all these other options are available. It is a pretend misunderstanding of the world that others are keenly aware of. They know other ingredients like her and avoid their games of willful ignorance.
One day she sees a solitary loaf of bread and tells him, “Join up with me. Maybe together people will enjoy us.”
But he declines. “Sorry. But I think they are preparing a fine meal of Caesar salad and French onion soup and parmesan chicken that I wish to be a part of. I think I’ll find a better home for myself there. But I’ll put in a good word for you, if you like.”
So she is rejected by the bread. In her hurt and disappointment, she declines the invitation to be a part of his meal. And, from this pain, she will not reach out to any bread again.
Somebody explains to her that chicken broth is used in many of the dishes that people enjoy so much. So she sits and waits for a chef to come to her, begging to use her in his dish……secretly hoping that, in the process, he will lavish her with appreciation for something she didn’t earn, but was simply born into. But, there are many other broths in line – THEM asking the chefs to be a part of their dishes, not just sitting around, waiting. They are the active and willing participants in the game.
There is very little flavor left in the life of the bland chicken broth, stagnating while awaiting her call to be part of something. In fact, as life goes on and the other broths find homes for themselves in butternut squash soup and alfredo sauce and cheddar bacon ranch dip and thousands of other recipes that people enjoy, this chicken broth becomes more and more distressed over why she was never more appreciated. And she becomes stale. She is told that with effort, there may be a way to bring new life to her flavor, like stirring all that has settled or reaching out to the salt again, in hope of a mutual rather than one way exchange of benefits. But, by now, she’s used to just sitting and waiting and settling. There will be no change…or exchange. So she sits and wonders why chefs and the other ingredients have ignored her.
“Maybe because they are too busy sharing their experiences, their growth and learning, from being a part of things – learning from all their exchanges with vegetables and creams and spices – experiences I cannot share with them”, she sometimes considers. But that’s a painful thought, so she doesn’t consider it for long.
Instead, she begins to blame the world around her for why she is being ignored and unutilized. She will use this more and more as an excuse for not attempting to be a part of any dish. “Why engage in a world so cold and dismissive, anyway?” she will rhetorically reason. She had such potential but it is unfortunate that such a selfish world never allowed her to reach it. She revels more and more in her purity – how she is unadulterated by the spices and everything else that other broths have compromised themselves with. There is an unsung martyrdom in this that she keeps mostly to herself while the rest of the world sees it as wasted potential which, for them, is nothing to sing about.