I remember my first experience washing dishes. I was all of four. It must have been a tiny juice glass. I was standing on a stool and washing the dishes. I stuck my whole hand in the glass and it shattered. It scared me. I don’t remember crying though I might have.
I do remember that I didn’t stop washing dishes.
It’s something I do every day. I have a dishwasher but somehow the soap suds in a deep sink, the dishes floating among the bubbles feel cathartic.
Cleaning dishes is so visible and redeeming. A mess is in the pots, edges of brown meat, vegetables and sauces, lipstick on the coffee cups and residue of wine in the glasses. All have to be cleaned, made new again.
And taking the dishcloth or sponge and wiping the surfaces, sometimes scrubbing the bits of cooked food on the stove top feels worthy, feels good. My results are immediate, visible.
The porcelain dishes are shining. The crystal is sparkling. And I feel like a domestic goddess!
Dishes are now drying upside down on the thick dishcloth towel that I buy at the fancy kitchen goods shop. I need quality to absorb the moisture, the wetness dripping off the pots and pans and forks.
My kitchen is my sanctuary. I cook and create and make things for others. It is a place where I have value. I can cook. I can make sumptuous dishes and give them to others. I create momentary joy in their life. Then cleaning the dishes, especially after a dinner party, after my guests leave, gives me pause to ruminate about our evening together.
The dishes are gleaming, the counters swept clean and wiped down, the stove all ready for the next food event. And the small light above the stove serves as a backdrop to an empty and awaiting stage for the next event.
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