The idle ramblings of a Jack of some trades, Master of none

Feb 3, 2016


In Amos Oz's Panther In The Basement, the twelve year old narrator is being babysat by Yardena, on whom he has a terrific crush. She cooks a remarkably fragrant chicken dish that has the boy drooling and hot.

Meanwhile, aflame with desire and anticipation and pangs of hunger, swallowing back the surging saliva, I laid the table for the two of us, facing each other like Mother and Father. I decided to leave my usual place empty. As I laid the table I could see Yardena out of the corner of my eye tossing chicken pieces in the frying pan, to remind them who they were, tasting the sauce, adjusting the seasoning, spooning it over the food which had taken on a wonderful hue of burnished brass or old gold, and her arms, her shoulders, and her hips came alive in a kind of dance inside her dress, protected by my mother's apron, as though the chicken pieces were shaking her whiel she shook them.

When we had eaten our fill, we sat facing each other picking at a bunch of sweet grapes; then we devoured half a water-melon and drank coffee together even though I told Yardena honestly and bravely that I wasn't allowed coffee, especially in the evening before going to bed.

Yardena said:

'They're not here.'


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