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The Other Side of Everything

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Written on February 1, 2007, and categorized as Secret and Invisible.
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February always brought out the best in Ali. It’s a Godawful month, usually, too early for spring, way past the new year, and no holiday in sight, unless you’re rich, or a clever bastard who plans ahead, splayed out on a Thai or a Goa beach anointed with coconut oil, because “the climate is so perfect here right now.”

Exercise is a chore leading to sore muscles, raw skin, red ears, chapped lips; sex seems out of the question when the purpose of bed is to recover. Nobody reveals an inch of flesh as the howling winds turn exposure into a potentially lethal medical condition.

Yes, February was always welcome, and he made amends for it’s lack of civility. All you can do is eat, and so all he did was cook. He roasted nuts, he baked pies, he fricasseed, he blanched, he garnished, he toasted all manner of foodstuffs, seemingly determined to put the cold behind a warm, comfortable layer of fat. Fat laid down upon fat, like the rings of a tree, he imagined, if they cut him they would see the Shepherd’s Pie, followed by the pasta, followed by the next hearty meal he’d managed to concoct as a remedy against the killing season.

He fed himself, and then his nourishment fanned in a spiral, beginning, as with all charity, at home, then outwards to friends, neighbours, invitees, acquaintances, random meetings and chance encounters; he would meet someone looking thin on a commuter train, drag them smilingly back, feed them as part of his usual row of hungry mouths.

Then, as the blossoms burst out of the trees, and the sun began it’s approach, warming skin, and young people removed clothes, he would sigh, weigh himself, and visibly wilt. From March until late September, no more culinary extravaganzas. Back on the fitness treadmill. Once again, a mighty talent in summer hibernation.

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