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"A Menu For Tomorrow" by Shome Dasgupta


I remember your fingertips—your fingertips. I remember your fingertips during our first dinner, and how I was nervous, but when I saw how you reached out to taste the cranberry brie bites, and the majestic nature of time slowing down when you closed your eyes to savor a moment where you felt so much in place, and I was trying to mumble my way out of any embarrassing words I’d say. When you took your second one—this time with a fork, but then you took it off with your fingers—your thumb and index, and ever so slightly stuck your tongue out, it was then I was in love with you. You—in blemished colors—twirling around, making my rib cage vibrate.

Soup & Salad

I didn’t think I’d be sitting across from you again—after stumbling down the steps outside of our first dinner and dragging you down with me, I thought that was it. The grace in your laughter that night has echoed in my throat since then. So there you were again—so there you were with gentle mannerisms which taught me to take pleasure in every single movement, as if every single movement was a miracle. I was witnessing a spectacle before me as you sprinkled pepper on your beet salad. It all looked like glitter to me. Every time I stuttered my speech because of my anxiety, you were patient and guided me through our conversation like I was learning to speak a language for the first time. I didn’t stumble down the steps that night, but I certainly felt like I was falling from the sky—your arms.


Once again I had ravioli in my hair, and without saying a word, you picked it out and causally put it aside on your plate. How many times did I have pasta on my head? How many times did your hand run through my thinning hair, making me feel like I belonged in a world made for everyone but me. I was just a stranger who happened to witness the beauty of the way your chin stayed still when you whispered the secrets of our existence. You were always kind, and your smile—a smile that makes your eyes carry a song out through the doors and up toward a breathless sky. Your mother's funeral was two weeks before, and it was our first time dining out since that gathering. Your eyes became watery, and I knew what you were thinking about, just as I know what you're thinking about now with those lyrical eyes.


That night I was going to propose to you—you asked me instead. I said yes and choked on my own saliva and you had to pat me hard on the back. While everyone was staring at us, and as I gained my breath—my vision, you put the ring on my finger and kissed me on the lips. I coughed again, and there we were, in the middle of the restaurant—only a plate of mashed potatoes to account for our love.

Coffee & Dessert

A million upon million years bursting a new beginning each day and how we gave our lives for each other. You always politely asked me to stop thanking you for being with me every morning—I think it made you embarrassed—perhaps the only time you didn’t know what else to do or say. I love you. So we love each other, and that was how it went. Here I am in a metallic bed during my last days, 55 years later since our first appetizer—there you are by my side. Every time I was around you I couldn’t speak because of your enchanting presence, but now I am unable to talk because the infinity of our time together knows we no longer need to chat—just a look that encompasses every second of us. I look at you now—I know, my dear—I know. I know our lives were one magnificent dinner, and I’m thinking of that tattered and torn menu you framed and hung in the hallway at home—a menu of a lifetime. Good night, my love—I’ll see you at the table in the corner of the room—it’ll be just us and most likely, I’ll have some tomato sauce in my hair and as you lift your hand, I'll say thank you for loving me.

Shome Dasgupta is the author of The Seagull And The Urn (HarperCollins India), and most recently, Cirrus Stratus (Spuyten Duyvil), Tentacles Numbing (Thirty West Publishing House), and a poetry collection, Iron Oxide (Assure Press). His novel, The Muu-Antiques, is forthcoming from Malarkey Books. His prose collection, Histories Of Memories, will be published by Belle Point Press, and his short story collection, Atchafalaya Darling will also be published by Belle Point Press. His fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction have appeared in McSweeney's Internet Tendency, Jabberwock Review, New Orleans Review, New Delta Review, Necessary Fiction, American Book Review, Arkansas Review, Magma Poetry, and elsewhere. He lives in Lafayette, LA, and can be found at and @laughingyeti.


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