My Last Supper
The prison guard told me to think about it, "Whatever you want," he said, and he walked away. Sauntering down the hallway, I listened to his boots scuff the concrete in rhythm with the key ring hanging off his belt while the memory of his face morphed behind my eyes. He became she; brown smooth younger than her years skin, brown kind eyes, with the sweetest point of a nose that I inherited and gazed upon every time I looked in the mirror. I saw my Nana, because there was something within his tone that made me feel he saw something in me besides a killer.
He saw me at six when I gave away my lunch to the poor kid. He saw me at ten when I helped my little sister with her homework every night. He saw me at fifteen when I walked away from a fight, even though I knew I could pulverize the son of a bitch that called me a piece of shit. He saw me the way Nana saw me.
….Potato pancakes? But no one could possibly make them like Nana. She would pull out her metal grater, long after food processors were invented, grating potatoes down to her puffy knuckles, never drawing blood, as far as I knew, and the rest of the ingredients were a secret, the way all of her recipes were kept, to keep us coming back long after we were adults with our own kitchens.
….Arroz con pollo? I tried to make it once after she died. It came out like shit, until I called up every relative and friend that knew her and finally got the secret out of my Aunt Marj. "Instead of water for the rice, add a bottle of beer."
"Seriously? Nana. Didn't you know I would still come see you if you divulged the full recipe to me?"
Of course Nana wasn't alive on the night it happened. She was long gone, I'm happy to say. "Forgive me Nana in heaven. You know I always meant to make you proud."
Neither was my true self alive on that night. The one Nana knew. It was the other me, dead me, the one I became because of her and it was only her and I in the room where it happened; our bedroom. The same place we once made sweet love to James Taylor's, "Sweet baby James". Her, the wife that said she'd love me forever and then made my life a living hell for twenty two years.
"Larry stop making that noise with your nose, Larry stop wearing those clothes, Larry stop walking that way, Larry you are a loser. Larry you repulse me. Larry don't touch me." Larry, Larry, Larry, stop being Larry, until I just lost it one night in an instant, after she slapped me for accidentally waking her up, telling me she could do anything she wants to me because I'm a wimp and I wouldn't dare retaliate. So right there in that same bed, with no music in the background, just the sounds of gasps and gurgles rising from her throat could be heard as I choked the life out of her with my bare hands, quicker than potatoes from a box.
The judge didn't buy the whole crime of passion thing. When I heard the death penalty at my sentencing, my lawyer gasped but I did not flinch. I felt I deserved it. My dead wife was right. I am a loser since why did I stay with her all those years? So I guess you can say I've been a prisoner for just about my entire adult life. The death penalty will put a welcomed end to that.
When the guard comes back, I'm going to ask him, "What would you choose for your last meal if you were me?" Without explaining to him how indecisive I've always been. And when he brings it to me, I'll say "thanks but no thanks" and offer it back to him. And just maybe….maybe, if my last dying wish is granted, maybe I'll get to feast on Nana's eyes one more time.