More than Dinner

Dawn Zera

heirloom tomatoes at the market
Photo Credit: Kristen Taylor

The baby’s been up all night, the five-year-old is causing trouble, and it’s been months since the husband growled that she made him dizzy with lust. It’s ninety-five degrees out, the window AC unit is on the fritz, and there’s only a twenty-dollar bill left in the coffee can.

But it’s farmers’ market day, so she throws the baby in a backpack carrier, and drags the older one along. If anything, it’ll feel good just to admire the farmers’ offerings. She walks around the market once, looking over everything, seeing which stands offer the best products, then swings back to the ones with the freshest tomatoes, remembering the basil back home in the garden. She’s intrigued by the possibilities presented by the figs, so those get picked up too, along with the sweet corn the kid insisted on buying, and some organic pork (it doesn’t matter much that it’s organic; it just looks good).

Once home, the kids are plopped in front of the TV while the figs and sweet corn are lovingly inspected. Her mind swirls with the possibilities: A salad with the two of them? A salsa with the tomatoes and corn?

And while this feast is being prepared, she starts to feel right—the hands revel in the busyness of trying to time everything perfectly.

Her husband comes home after the children have fallen asleep. She plates everything carefully and sets it before him.

He looks down at the food, silent as he takes the first bite. Chews. Then he looks up, into her eyes.


Dawn Zera is a published journalist and former city girl currently in need of rescue from the Pennsylvania mountains. If you need a curriculum vitae, please send a SASE with $1,000 to her at… Email: dzera87[at]