My Maiden Margarine

Scooping a spoonful of margarine out of a brand new tub is one of those divine moments of everyday life. It’s the modern courtly love.

You pick up a thing of margarine from the grocery store, peel the lid off for the first time (oh, the anticipation)–hearing that crisp sound as you lift it back, then away. Then there’s the little plastic film, the final layer, and you strip it off in haste, and you always leave a little bit hanging in the corner, if a circle had corners. And when you lift off that last remnant of decency, you’ve got this mound of creamy yellow heaven, maybe with an extra little mound where it piled toward the middle of the lid, this perfect imperfection. Oh those flawless, still curves, like that photo you saw of the Sahara long ago.

You know that when you touch it, it won’t be perfect anymore. Your virgin margarine will be besmirched, scarred, displaced. But you can’t help yourself. You slide the edge of the knife, or the spoon, just barely, into the curve, skimming rather than digging, savouring how smoothly the margarine collects onto the utensil. Silkily you rotate your wrist until the edge of the utensil resurfaces, like a dolphin fin, out of the packed cream, and you carry away your golden bounty as it comes thickly loose from its whole. And just as you make your use of the stolen margarine, spreading it over food or flicking it off the utensil, you look back at your once-perfect mound and find it wanting. But it can never be what it once was.

And you just don’t care anymore, do you? It’s just another old, carved-up, dug-into hunk of fat, well-used, well-taken-from. And now it’s collecting crust and you’re scraping the sides of the tub to collect whatever’s left and you’ve almost forgotten how amazing it used to make you feel. But you never really forget.

There’s always more margarine in the store.

– H.

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