Saturday night had tumbled ass-over-teakettle into a maelstrom of hasty words and hurt feelings. Apologies finally wrestled their way to the surface at dawn, leaving us wrung out and penitent and asleep until noon. When I woke, the bourbon from the night before had taken up residence behind my eyes, making Sunday hurt.
Forgiveness, especially when summoned on a hung-over morning, can be elusive and coy, like calling a cat from a hiding place: it’ll come out when it’s good and goddamn ready, no matter how sweetly you call or what you promise in return.
There is nothing elusive or coy, however, about soup made from scratch in early Autumn. Soothing, evocative of grandmothers and sweater weather, soup is pretty difficult to mess up. If you add too much salt, you can always add some water. The three lonely celery stalks in your fridge that have been waiting for something to do will be welcomed, as will a stray potato, or basil on the verge of going bad.
You have to just kind of let everything simmer together for a while. Eventually, the flavors begin to commingle and the soup begins to look like more than the sum of its parts. Soup, unlike people, will always forgive rashness, impatience, and too much spice.
And so, contrite and in need of comfort, we decided to make soup for Sunday dinner. While rolling oregano-and-garlic turkey meatballs between our hands, chopping dill, melting onions in oil, and baptizing everything in an ablution of homemade chicken stock, a palpable, if tentative, peace began to settle itself around and throughout us.
Later, we sat on the floor, big ceramic bowls of our soup on the coffee table in front of us. This silence was companionable, open. Then:
“Do you like the soup?”
“Yes, but it’s more that I’m taking refuge in it, you know?”
“Yeah. Me, too.”
I haven’t been to Mass in years, but I know Communion when I see it.