There was still movement. Wind rippled water, made waves. Birds circled, headed south. And Rome was full of starlings. There was still movement, all the fish under water were nibbling at the bottom; overall, animals fed, mated, and spawned. They lay down to die. How does a doe die a natural death? How a whale?
There was still movement, chewing, breaking down of food.
Something was moving in the kitchen too, if only a bit. The cook sat on a chair and tipped her head back. The cook was waiting for guests. The guests stayed away. The stove stayed cold.
The cook in her closed kitchen tipped her head back and imagined steam, and sizzling, and hissing, and heat. She imagined standing by the stove, a ladle in her hand, the ladle in a pot, and soup in the pot.
She imagined standing there for days and nights, stirring and stirring, and only stopping to throw new ingredients into the soup, or to go to the bathroom, or to eat a little of the soup herself, to regain new energy, to continue stirring.
She imagined that stirring the soup would help her wait.
Yet there was still movement.
Falling apart was movement as well. And the growing needs. Movement was in numbers, in the track of the curve.
The cook tipped her head back, and then stood up. She decided against the soup, in favor of bread. She kneaded the dough. Not for days, not for nights, but for a long time. Then she put the batter in a bowl. There was still movement, the kneaded dough rose, bubbled, changed its color in the oven, formed a crust.
If something is forming, even if it is just a crust, then there’s still movement, said the cook. The crust cracked.
And there was a scent in the kitchen.
Perhaps it will forever be only me who smells the bread – which I will still bake, said the cook. Perhaps it will always be only me who hears the crust cracking. But maybe, still far away, still much too far away, guests are on their way, coming slowly, with enormous hunger.
Gianna Molinari was born in Basel in 1988. She lives in Zurich, where she co-founded the art action group “Literature for what happens” to help refugees. Her first novel “Anything Could Happen Here” was published by Aufbau Verlag in 2018. She received the Robert Walser Prize 2018 for the novel and was nominated for the German and Swiss Book Prize 2018.
Translated by Antje Eiger and Dina Charnin