Terrine. I saw Charlotte’s mother make this once, a sublime cold dish, lovingly layered with puréed meats and vegetables and then somehow gelled together. I don’t think I’d ever have eaten terrine if I hadn’t seen the ingredients and how Ms. Mason assembled them. It took hours to make and set. She saw me drooling when she carefully removed the terrine from the mold onto a plate. She gave me a slice. “From one aspiring gourmet to another,” Ms. Mason had said and I felt as if we should’ve clinked glasses (too many movies, Vince would say). I savoured it, bite by divine bite, and she told Charlotte, “I like this girl. Bring her over anytime.”
“Oh, Mom,” said Charlotte. “You love Ine for more than her food lust.” They looked alike, then, both all angled jawlines and full lips. Usually I thought Charlotte looked more like her dad, tall and blonde and thin, though I’d only ever seen that photo of him on Charlotte’s dresser. That day, I decided Ms. Mason gave over a few genes after all, all except her dark hair.
Oh, to have Ms. Mason’s terrine tucked away in a picnic basket with ice-cold water and crackers. Oh, to have a hot summer night on a grassy hill waiting for the band to start and opening up the red-checked napkins and eating terrine. Oh, terrine, terrine, terrine.
Terrine is pressed together, as tight as three friends who have been together since that first eighth-grade audition, and who have recently become InVINCEable because there’s Vince in there too; he’s in the middle of we three. Invincible as terrine, which can be held up in the air and still retain its prismatic beauty. Hold it up. Hold us up.
Terrine presses the elements of itself so close together, presses so hard, the individual elements are inseparable, there is only…terrine.
From where I watch, here in the gray, there is no terrine. There is no colour. Nothing of substance. Nothing to sink your teeth into and nothing to melt into your tastebuds. The gray vacuums out the senses, leaves nothing but nostalgia which is only a sort of suffering for the past.
I look down at what’s left of us. The bits of car door and glass on the road by the tracks. Then there is the prism: the bulk of the car and us, we three. Terrine. No longer separate elements of car, girl, girl, boy. We three terrine. So elegantly put together by the force of Master Chef Train.
Now—I don’t eat terrine, I don’t eat Havarti or the fries of life. No fries from fast food, no fries with truffle oil the way Charlotte’s stepdad makes them, though those can’t be fries if they are baked, can they? They are fries imposters, but imposters that are better at being fries than fries are.
And I am an imposter person. But I am not better than I was. I am nothing, gray as the grayness surrounding me.