Taken from the larder on a sultry summer’s day, generous pats of best Epping butter, delivered by Mr Thackeray every second Tuesday in the month. Sly taste of salty gold on the tip of a rounded silver blade. Spread thick, without thought of the dwindling scraps left behind in the dinky blue and white butter dish made in Delft, slightly chipped. Using up the day’s ration of lust on a thick slice of cottage loaf, toasted, buttered, then unevenly cut in half. Your piece with a modest border around, mine as lavish as a movie siren’s satin counterpane, sinking into golden pores, tassels dangling over the edge.
Extravagant enough to make a crusty Bread-and-Butterfly sigh and bow its sad sugar lump head before taking another sip of weak tea, quivering on fragile legs, grateful for a brief life as a literary illusion. I’m trembling now, lying on my strumpet bed, surrendering to the slathers of slick sensuality teasing my naked skin. There is no need for jam or clotted cream or plump fruit scones, just a piece of hot buttered toast, shared between us. The larder is as cool and gloomy as a sepulchre, the serrated bread knife lying idle on the scarred wooden board, a trapped bluebottle scrabbling in the corner of the meshed window.
We are the servants of mid-afternoon, chores undone, our tryst as tangled as a basket of unwashed laundry. A wagtail hops by on the rockery as you cut yourself another thick doorstep slice and lay it under the old-fashioned grill. Soon we will be in a state of toasty nirvana, making the dainty porcelain perspire. As your thumb dabs at the last of my warm crumbs and your wet tongue collects the errant ones that have dropped into my navel, perhaps we should consider getting some clothes on and resuming our duties before the mistress of the house returns by the back gate.
The depleted butter dish gleams with the sordid evidence of our crime of passion and needs covering up. I pause for a blissful moment to wipe my greasy mouth on some economy kitchen towel–perhaps you could clear the table, while I fetch the carpet sweeper? Oh, I have just seen a shadow flit past the smeary window and the door handle is rattling, the mistress has arrived, go dress in the pantry, quick. I’ve been told we’re expecting the vicar for tea and the Brown Betty needs to be warmed and the apostle spoons hidden, before the clock in the hall strikes the quarter-hour. I have so enjoyed our sensual interlude and the plundering of gold from the vault. Let’s do the same again tomorrow.
Lise Colas is a keen sketcher and scribbler from the south coast of England. She has a BA (Hons) in Fine Art and used to work in the archive of Punch magazine. Her poetry and short fiction has appeared in Black Poppy Review, Literary Orphans, Slink Chunk Press, and Gone Lawn, among others. She currently has a poetry blog at lisecolas.wordpress.com.
Lead image: “Kuh 2” (via Flickr user Romeo Art)