It was my first time.
Some would say I didn’t go deep enough; I was too soft, too scared.
The black vanilla stalks scattered my kitchen counter like strips of licorice.
My drawers were packed with only dull knives;
my stove awoke for hissing tea kettles;
my oven broke a sweat for pre-made pizzas wrapped in plastic.
The counter was the kitchen’s center-stage, surrounded by chairs for imaginary guests –
guests that never watched, never spoke.
I positioned the tip of the knife – lowering, raising, scaling the stalk.
In one quick motion, the tip slipped in at the top and slid down.
The split open stalk bled black seeds, revealing a plaque smile.
The room smelled like sugar-coated sex.
There was a knock at the door,
a ring from the bell.
The stalks were piled like tangled hair.
The counter was sticky and spotted with seeds.
I dropped the knife into the sink, tossed the stalks in the trash.
The smell floated above and below me.
Seeds were snug in the trails of my palm.
The doorbell moaned.
Doorknob easily slipped into my tight grasp, like the knife skinning the stalk.
He stood in the doorway with twelve orchids and a smile.
I pocketed my seedy palms and grinned.
“You smell nice.”