The imagination is a fascinating landscape. But sometimes there are strange, scary things lurking in the corners.
Today started out innocently enough. As with most fond childhood memories, it began with a recollection of food.
If you were around in the early 70's, you might remember Jello 1-2-3, the magically self-separating 3-layer dessert. I have vivid recollections of watching my mother dump the box of powder into a blender with water... pouring out the cloudy liquid into stemmed glass parfait cups... the torture of waiting... waiting... waiting... opening the refrigerator every few minutes despite the scoldings... the layers forming, separating slowly... slowly... too slowly... a spoon skimming the pale froth from the top... then onto the creamy middle layer... digging deeper into the clear, gelled bottom... the sound of the spoon scraping the empty glass... anticipating the next one.
I don't know what triggered the memory, but once it gripped me, I had to work through it. The result is this parfait— not a magically separating one, but deliberate layers; an exploration of variously textured soft gels. Even without the magic of chemistry and memory, I'm certain that the flavors and textures were better than that dessert-in-a-box. But the presentation wasn't doing anything for me.
After recreating the layers, in the same order, in a shallow bowl with a wide rim, I was satisfied. On the surface, it looked innocuous, clean, minimalist. Perfectly simple. Maybe too perfect. A perfect parfait? Redundant, n'est pas?
And then I started thinking about surfaces, skins, shells, and how they conceal. I wanted to reveal.
Remember the strange, scary, lurking things?
I blame them. And the change of season (that always unsettles me). And the lack of sleep. No doubt, the late-night Dexter marathons are not without blame.
Whatever it was, I found myself cutting, gashing, spraying, dripping, staining.
Now, perfectly imperfect.
Now, hideous, even.
Dexter would be proud.