via Daily Prompt: Leaf
“Grab two basil leaves!” Em says, and I turn once again to our greenery-lined windowsill. Is this one it…? I wonder, sniffing an unassuming green plant.
“Got it!” I tear off a couple leaves. Making another 180, I throw them into a large red pot.
“Nice.” He shakes absurd amounts of spices into the soup and stirs it rapidly.
“Hey, do you want me to, like, set the counter or something?”
He looks up, surprised. “Oh. I mean… yeah. Sure. Go ahead, I washed the dishes this morning.”
I wince a little at the reminder that I slept until 11, but Em didn’t notice. Grabbing the bowls, napkins, and spoons, I walk around our stovetop to the kitchen counter.
“You want water?” I ask, moving to get some cups.
“Nah, I already got some.”
“Alright.” I fill my cup with tap water and take a sip.
“Yeah?” I put down my cup.
“Have we got any oregano?”
I sigh. “Gimme a second.” What the fuck even is oregano?? I stare blindly at the sea of green before me. Rolling my eyes, I pull out my phone to google it.
“I’m sorry, but all these plants look way too much like weed,” I laugh.
Em snorts, reluctantly amused. “Who said I don’t have any?”
I gape at him. “New York state law, hopefully.”
He cracks up. “You right. Now hand over the oregano.”
“Here.” I hand him something that looks vaguely similar to the picture on my phone. Em glances at it before tossing it in the, now nearly full, pot.
Leaning over to look at the soup, I take a deep breath. “I can clean up after dinner… if you want…”
He stares at me. I desperately avoid eye contact.
“What’s wrong?” He’s not looking at me anymore.
“What do you mean?”
“You’re acting weird.”
“What, because I’m being helpful for once?” It comes out bitter. Salty.
Out of the corner of my eye, I see Em shake his head. “If you want to help, then help. If not, then don’t. I don’t care either way.”
“That’s a lie.”
“How would you know?”
I’m silent. He stirs the soup again.
“I’ve got it covered, ok? Stop worrying about shit.”
“I know…” I know, but… “I just feel…” useless.
He glances at me. He looks away just as quickly.
“Stir.” Em hands me the spoon.
I comply. It’d be useless to argue.
“You can clean up too, I guess. There shouldn’t be too much.”
“I’m starting to regret this,” I joke.