The fork

Tonight, we have friends for dinner. While I fuss in the kitchen, warming plates and gently stirring the sauce for the broccoli, a friend steps in to help. She decants a bottle of Pinot Noir, finds the wine glasses, and begins to set the table. Knives go on the serviettes, forks on the left and dessert spoons above the placemats. I look over my shoulder and see that all is exactly as it should be. The candles are lit and we are ready to call the others to the table.

After serving up, I’m ready to take my seat. Without a second thought, I pick up the fork, walk to the kitchen and exchange it. My friend gives me a quizzical look. I feel I should explain.

‘I just like eating with my own fork,’ I say with a little laugh, trying to make light of an absurd habit. Thankfully, the conversation at the table captures her attention and I can return to my meal.

My fork is oddly comforting. Perhaps it is because I have small hands, or, more likely, because it is a memento from my childhood. I had the full baby set of cutlery until my mid-twenties but I lost the knife and then the spoon in one of the many moves over the years. I didn’t mind the knife so much; it was blunt and hardly useful. The spoon felt like a real loss.

My fork is beautiful to look at. The handle depicts a gnome with a pointy, forward-leaning hat. He has ruddy cheeks and a long, flowing beard. I have always thought of him as one of the seven dwarfs from Snow White. He has a broad smile as he looks benevolently at a squirrel and offers the gift of an acorn. The toadstool in the corner is nod to the best loved German fairy tales.

This magical scene transports me to the woodlands of my childhood where I often saw red squirrels scamper up trees and toadstools adorn the forest floor. Walking in the woods, I half expected to see a kind-hearted gnome hiding behind a tree and, in my imagination, I lived in this enchanted place where good invariably triumphed over evil. Regardless of what was happening in my life, I could always inhabit this other world I knew through stories and images, just like the one depicted on my fork. Perhaps this is the real reason I want it to accompany my daily meals.

Our plates are empty now and my guests are ready for the next course. The time has come to serve dessert. My choice: Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte or Black Forest cake.

9 thoughts on “The fork”

  1. I love the way the past inhabits the present. So often we act out our lives as if only the now is real but things are rarely that simple and would become boring if in fact it were so. As with good music there are background melodies, sometimes shadows and reflections. Bravo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I believe we carry the past with us wherever we go. It is the layer that most people don’t see when interacting with each other.


  2. How lovely to know you still have that gorgeous fork. I can visualise your father lovingly making the pencil case – so nice that you still have it and use it.

    Liked by 1 person

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