. The coffee hissed and sputtered through the percolator, announcing itself and pulling me out of the thought of how happily single I am.
. It seems like such a strange thought to have, but it happens often, at the most peculiar of times, like when the morning light is perfectly golden and I have time to watch it move across the bedspread uninterrupted. Or when I am stretched out on the couch, looking out the window and considering the personality of the trees out back. Or like this morning, while I was waiting for the coffee to compose itself, my nose buried in a book.
. It seems an especially strange thought to have, when once upon a time I was happily married. And though its been 4 years, there is still this divide of life before and life after marriage. Both created an existence of happiness in their own ways.
. It is still considered highly unusual, especially in this part of America where new things are slower to be accepted, to remain friends with an ex without the assumption that one is still pining after the other or that physical relations are inevitable. But, friends we remain, without the pining and without the physical complications.
. And so, as I was considering tackling my first pizza dough and how I might adorn it, I thought it would be best to do it under the supervision of my friend/ex-husband who does not allow things like the misbehaving of dough to ruffle his feathers. (For the record, dough, with all it’s chemistry of yeast and rise times and gluten, ruffles my feathers very much.)
. To be clear, I did not make the dough. It came to me by way of a bread CSA that I recently signed up for and my only job was to not fuck it up.
. So I sprinkled the flour and cornmeal on the rimless sheet pan, as instructed. It was at this time that I also learned of weevils, little brown bugs that can occupy things like cornmeal and of which had occupied mine. While my friends suggested I should get some new cornmeal, Google assured me it was fine and so I went forward. (I did throw away the bag after this, because I do not feel like having a pantry full of bugs.)
. Step two was to let the dough sit on the counter, uncovered for 2 hours. Apparently this is when the rising would take place. I trusted the dough to do its thing and I left to share beers with friends and watch a man hold a cockroach (long story).
. Arriving back the apartment at the same time as friend/ex-husband, we studied the dough, feeling unsure of how little rising it had done. But I was hungry, famished actually, and insisted on forging ahead with the promise of getting cheeseburgers should this pizza-making thing turn into a flop.
. Rolling the dough was a comic failure. No matter how forcefully the rolling pin was pressed, the springy glob would just pull back into it’s original shape. This required a hands-on approach of pulling and turning, pulling and turning, the weight of itself doing the work. There was an urge to toss it in the air and flip it around like real pizza makers do, but we also wanted to eat, and so no tossing fun was had.
. The dough took on a reasonable circular shape and I slapped on the tomato sauce, salami, and basil leaves. Fresh mozzarella sprinkled down like fluffy snow and into the oven at 500 degrees it all went before the dough could change it’s mind about it’s size.
. And what came out was a golden, fragrant, bubbling pizza, with crispy edges and gooey cheese. He talked while I shoveled food into my mouth at an embarrassing speed, my hunger only fueled by the pints I had earlier in the night. And then, like a true friend, he helped me clean up the mess in the kitchen and I promptly kicked him out so that I could crawl into bed and succumb to the food coma of all food comas, spreading out like a starfish in my bed, like a happily single woman does.