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by Boris Kokotov

Lately she has become overly concerned about nutritional facts of our food, comparing different brands’ daily values of sugar, sodium, and fats, checking the expiration date of every item. I believe this is an obsession. I only check the expiration date of my medicine.

The pills my doctor prescribes are poisonous, period. I usually pick up a bottle from the pharmacy but never open it. I keep on the shelf until its expiration date and throw it away afterward.

The whole concept of expiration began to bother me after the episode with the chair. She told me the chair in the living room was wobbly. Told me a second time, then a third.

Obviously a bolt has come loose, not a big deal. I turned the chair over, tightened the bolt and then spotted a faded ink stamp on the seat’s bottom: x red cherry wood proudly made in USA. Without a doubt x red stands for expired. The question was, when?

It is dangerous to be under the sway of objects that have exceeded their normal life span. The aura will suffer.

Aside from myself, our cat loved to sleep in this chair. I wondered if any harm had occurred to us. First I inspected the cat in spite of its loud protests. It took me a while to discover a small label on its belly; it was completely obscured by the fur. My attempt to remove the label failed; the cat broke from my grasp and fled.

It came to my mind that everything in the house must be marked! I opened the curio cabinet, took out a porcelain vase she had bought years ago at a flea market. I turned it over, but before I got a good look at its base, the vase slipped out of my hands, hit the hardwood floor, and shattered in pieces as though my checking it out had accelerated its demise.

Now she has a tattoo on her left ankle, a flower with multiple petals. Today I made out a dubious sign at the center of the flower. Shall I investigate this further, knowing what happened to the vase? Will she try to escape like the cat, hissing and scratching me with her nails?

Copyright © 2013 by Boris Kokotov

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