Bloganuary Day 5: What is something you wish you knew how to do?

Mark wiped his hands on his jeans and cleared his throat. He’d been told to turn up at four o’clock to help with the dinner prep. It was only a trial, but at least he’d be fed and maybe make a few dollars. The woman who was behind the bar last night had been vague about the pay, but he’d been desperate enough to stretch the truth, just a little, about his experience.

An older woman stuck her head around the doorway. She looked him up and down then rolled her eyes. ‘So, you’re the new hand, are you?’

Mark nodded.

‘Didn’t I see you in here the other night? With that group of out of towners?’

Mark grimaced. They’d been rowdy, cashed up and vocal about what they thought of the place, the only pub in town offering meals on the weekend.

‘Yes.’

‘Are you all staying on in town?’

Mark shook his head. ‘No. Just me.’ He met her eyes for a moment before looking away. He could feel his neck redden and hoped that she wouldn’t ask why he was still here, left behind, with the rest of them gone.

‘Well, you won’t get much work done standing in the doorway. What’s your name?’

‘Mark.’

‘Right, Mark. You can start by giving your hands a good scrub and putting an apron on. Worked in a kitchen before?’

He paused at the sink, lathering his hands. Something about the woman’s tone warned him about spinning a line about working in a cafe or restaurant in the city. ‘I used to help my Mum with the vegetables and salads for big gatherings.’ He said it quietly, then rinsed his hands under the tap, waiting for her screech of protest and to be told to bugger off, there wasn’t time to show a novice how to get started.

But when he turned, the woman was looking at him with her hands on her hips and a half-smile on her face.

‘Like that, is it?’

Mark shrugged. ‘I enjoyed doing it. Sometimes she’d show me how to make gravy and sauces. She said I was a natural.’ He hesitated a moment, feeling as though there was nothing left to lose. ‘It’d be good to know how to do it properly.’

The smile on the woman’s face widened. ‘Well, you can’t be too bad. But there’s no time to waste. There’s a stack of potatoes there that need peeling. I’m Carol, and if you do exactly as I say and don’t make a mess of things, we’ll see if I can show you a thing or two about how things are done in the country.’

Mark ducked his head and went to the bench where a large mound of potatoes was set out. He held the peeler and made a start, finding a comfort in the familiar movement, reminding him of a time when he felt useful. Maybe he’d learn something here after all.

I’m participating in this blogging challenge for the month of January which supports starting the year on the “write” track. You can find out more about the challenge, join in and read other posts here.

Photo: inside the kitchen of Hambledon Cottage, Parramatta

4 thoughts on “Bloganuary Day 5: What is something you wish you knew how to do?

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