Tamera was in a hurry, but she was going to take her time. She said this sentence to herself in her mind and smiled, she liked contradictory things. Humming a repetitive tune, she proceeded to pick items carefully off shelves and add them to her full basket.
The supermarket was busy with late evening shoppers, tired-looking women and a few disgruntled men, seemingly under duress, lethargically but determinedly walking the aisles. Tamera’s perky mood stood out sorely, as she lined up with the other shoppers, humming her song under her breath, tapping her foot in tandem with the beat.
“Having a party?” the lady at the checkout counter asked as she packed Tamera’s groceries into a bag.
“No…Yes,” Tamera smiled, a smile that stretched her brightly painted red lips wide across her pretty face, “I’m cooking Ronald, my husband, a nice dinner,” she blushed as she handed the lady her credit card, oblivious to the strange look she received as the lady glanced down at her left hand, which was devoid of any jewellery.
The house was dark as Tamera parked her car across the street from it under a low-hanging blooming purple bougainvillea tree. Humming still, her arms full of groceries, she walked quickly to the house and retrieved a key from a potted plant hung from the veranda roof; that was swinging softly in a gentle night breeze.
The house was silent as she went in quietly, making her way carefully in the darkness to the kitchen at the back of the house, where she turned on a single light after gingerly closing the kitchen door. Then with a sigh, she smoothed her thick hair back, tucking a few stray tendrils into her bun, and began to cook.
Tamera was an excellent cook. She could’ve been a chef if she’d wanted to. She had a knack for imagining flavours and knowing exactly how to create them, mixing herbs and spices with a disregard for measurements and recipes, managing to create one-of-a-kind dishes that melted on the palate and left you wanting more.
She hummed as she stirred, chopped, fried, boiled and roasted; mountains of crispy potatoes with soft steaming centres, thick juicy cuts of meat dripping in fragrant gravy and surrounded by a colourful mess of perfectly cooked vegetables, incredibly fluffy rice flavoured with coconut milk, its white colour in stark contrast to the deep brown of sticky barbequed chicken garnished with deep fried onion rings and shavings of garlic in the dish next to it.
Tamera stood back and admired her work for a moment, a hazy look glazing over her eyes as she thought how happy Ronald would be. Almost as if her thoughts had summoned him, she heard a car in the driveway.
Ronald had a long day at work, and a tough one at that. He felt brain dead as he dragged himself out of the plush interior of his car, shivering as the chill outside hit him, bowing his head against its icy kiss as he hurried to the front door of his home and fumbled with his key. But the door was already open.
Strange, he was sure he’d locked it…but ah yes! His housekeeper must’ve left it open, she was usually very careful about things like that, but as he stepped into the warmth of his home and smelt the delicious wafting aromas, his worries dispelled immediately. His housekeeper rarely cooked, he had a chef for that, but she’d once surprised him with her famous barbequed chicken, and right now, its garlicky goodness was thick in the air.
Ronald pushed open the kitchen door, an expectant wide smile on his face as he prepared his compliments and thanks, then stared in shock as he was met with a counter lined end to end with food, and a brown haired siren with red lips and slanted eyes.
“Happy anniversary hun!” Tamera run round the counter and threw herself into the arms of a stunned Ronald, kissing him lightly on the cheek, leaving a stamp like smear of her lipstick on him, “I hope you’re hungry,” she winked as she hurried back around the counter to pull off her apron and hung it up.
“What?” Ronald was drooling, not from the scents of the mounds of delicacies surrounding him, but from a shock that had his jaw on the floor.
“Darling, I said I hope you’re hungry,” Tamera whipped around to face him, her smile fixed squarely on as if it were painted, “Sit down and eat, I’ve been cooking for hours,” her eyes were daggers pinning him in place.
“Who…” Ronald stuttered as he stared into Tamera’s wild eyes.
“Ronald,” Tamera moved forward and he flinched, “I cooked it, I just said so,” she poked her lower lip out, pouting at him, “Now, sit down and try it.”
“Forget the food!” Ronald screamed at the bizarre nature of the situation he found himself in, “I meant who are you!? What are you doing in my house and…”?
His shouts tapered off as Tamera suddenly pulled up her already short dress to reveal a thigh holster from where she pulled and levelled a pistol at him.
“Ronald darling,” her smile hadn’t faltered, “I said sit down and eat.”