Jeremy was embarrassed his mother made him take Home Ec. But she was such an imposing woman. Her love was like a vice squeezing him.
And so, here he found himself standing at his workstation, surrounded by pimple-faced girls and girls with big butts and girls with long hair bound up into buns and tucked under plastic caps, and him alone, longing for release from... well, everything.
He watched Jelsey's lithe brown fingers open an egg shell, watched her pour the yolk back and forth, tendrils of clear liquid draping between the halves. He watched her hands, her wrists, the backs of her arms, the way her shoulders kneaded, the nape of her neck, the tip of one ear.
In his copper bowl, yolk swirled through whites laced with flecks of shell. His fingers did not move like Jelsey's, his hands could not caress, his shoulders were blocky things. And his head was... well, in another place.
Jelsey dumped yolk into a measuring cup. Jeremy swiped egg shells into the trash.
"Now," Mrs. Tegolfski said, "take the whisk into your right hand." She tittered. "Unless you're left handed, of course."
Jeremy frowned. Mrs. Tegolfski was fragile and passive, the opposite of his mother. He didn't want to do anything she said.
"Hold it firmly, like so."
Jeremy reached down. He watched Jelsey pick up the whisk and hold it above her bowl.
"Now we will beat the whites," Mrs. Tegolfski said. "Ready?"
"Ready," the class repeated.
"Insert the tip gently. Begin to whisk, but not too hard. It's in the wrist, students. Watch my wrist. See? Small strokes, quiet, barely lifting. Only a little movement, no splash, no noise. The mucous will begin to liquefy. The globules shoot up, and everything collapses into foam. You should feel a thickening."
Jeremy mimicked Jelsey's motions. He watched the jiggling of her flesh, her arm, her breast. It was working! He did feel it, his fingers curled around the shaft, a relentless thickening.
"Now," Mrs. Tegolfski said, "gradually, increase the breadth of your strokes, and their speed. Continue to beat with these larger strokes, faster, harder. See how the foam smoothes? It should be white now, bright as a bed sheet. Now, take the whisk out and turn it over. The foam should form a tassel like the one on your graduation mortar should you pass my class." She tittered.
Panting, Jeremy leaned onto his arms. Jelsey's face was flushed too.
One by one, Mrs. Tegolfski inspected work stations. "Excellent Allie. Great job Graylinda. That's wonderful Jelsey." She came to Jeremy and stopped. Her mouth formed an "O". Her eyes widened, irises vibrating as they took in the slimy mess at Jeremy's workstation.
"I think there's been a miscommunication," she said at last. "A terrible miscommunication."
Jeremy wiped his hands on his pants, the whisk untouched on the counter. He wondered if maybe his mother had wanted a girl.
published 21 March 2012