Wine & Spirits

KITCHEN CHRONICLES: Neil and Fiona have a heart-to-heart. Plus a soothing recipe for a hot rum toddy

Kitchen Chronicles is a weekly series by Barbara Sibbald, a novelist and award-winning journalist and long-time contributor to Ottawa Magazine. Visit Kitchen Chronicles every Sunday for a new instalment  — and a tested recipe. 

Degrees of Depression

—   Beer? asks Fiona.

—   To beer or not to beer, there is no question, says Neil.

Fiona grins and hands him a bottle.

—   I’m glad you decided to skip the hockey game, she says.

—   I wanted to go, says Neil. Mostly so I could hang out with Luc and Gavin — he’s such a great kid. But this cold’s a killer. Thank god, Mom’s got friends in town. I don’t think I could handle her tonight. She could start a fight in an empty house.

Fiona snorts with laughter. What a sense of humour! she thinks.

—   I don’t know how you can live with her.

IMG_4423He shrugs.

—   I’m mostly an absentee tenant. I see her at supper and she goes over her list of things I have to do — hence the cheap rent — and encourages me to eat. I never actually talk to her about anything.

He grasps the roll of fat at his waist.

—   I do my bit for the team. Other than that, I’m in the basement working and she never comes down. But the one-on-one during Christmas is a killer. And she rises to the occasion, going after you.

Fiona shrugs.

—   Nothing’s changed, except I don’t have to put up with it full time. Do you ever think about moving out?

—   I know, I’m such a loser; thirty-four and living in my mom’s basement. A walking stereotype. But I did live alone for a while, remember in college? I didn’t like it much. I like having someone else in the house. I don’t actually get out a lot, so if I work alone and live alone, it’s just too much. It makes the down times tougher. (more…)