How to Cook Pasta

How to Cook Pasta

She waits with a watchful eye, staring at the pasta. It doesn’t boil.

Pacing back and forth across the empty kitchen with the useless pots and pans still in the creaky cupboard, she adds another pinch of salt to the pasta. It still doesn’t boil.

She thinks about putting on a bit of music while she waits, but the downstairs neighbors hate when she does that, and she can’t remember where she last left her headphones. They might be in her coat pocket or they might not, perhaps she left them on top of the back bed in the room with the leftover textbooks. Or maybe she didn’t, maybe she left them hanging off the tiny coat rack, right next to her keys. Wherever she left them it’s too much work to run and find them, especially when the pot might boil soon.

As soon as it boils, she’ll put the pasta in. As soon as it boils.

The tiny apartment is only temporary, and the only burner fizzles on her. She coaxes it, fights it, begs it to make a bigger flame but it does not, settling proudly for the dull little spark that it is. Blowing on a flame coaxes a campfire; she wonders if it’ll help the stove. Probably not. She watches the blue flame dance and stares right through it.

Her phone lights up. She has a notification, another message she’s not going to read. Why bother, when she knows exactly what it will say? Still, she checks the name. She reads the first two letters and flips the phone over, wincing as it lands a bit too hard on the counter. Fortunately, it’s not cracked. Unfortunately, that part of the counter is still covered in uncleaned bacon grease from his disaster yesterday, and now her phone is too.

The television buzzes a commercial from the living area, or whatever passes as such. She cranes her neck to check the ad, but it's not selling anything good, just some sort of medical plan for old people, the kind of thing she couldn't afford even if she chopped off both arms and sold them. When she left home, she swore up and down she wasn’t ever going to be the kind of person who left the TV on. She wasn’t going to eat in front of it, didn’t even need a good model really, just something to use to occasionally watch old cartoons and maybe a new show if he wanted to.