How to Bake a Marriage
Before you begin, separate out all expectations and discard (do not bother setting aside for use later or for any other relationships as unfulfilled expectations are generally considered ruinous.) Mix a pair of lovers in a bowl as large as possible. Add several heaping tablespoons of patience and some spice to taste. Whisk in some warmth and sprinkle with friendship. Stir constantly for longer than you think necessary. Add a heaping helping of issues, a pint of problems and a couple cups of catastrophe. Try not to let the lovers separate. If there is separation, which is usually inevitable, find a different bowl, take several deep breaths, add more patience, and try again. When the bumpiness begins to smooth out, place gently into a pan greased with humor, imagination, deference, and plenty of humility. Bake low and slow. Pay vigilant attention to it at all times. If left unattended, the marriage can begin to fall apart. In that case, coat the cracks with generous amounts of kindness and crimp the edges, gently, to seal. If things start to boil over, remove from heat, cool down, and try again. And again. And again. And again. As many times as it takes. A successful bake will emit strong fumes of endurance.
Beth Mulcahy (she/her) is a Pushcart Prize-nominated poet and writer whose work has appeared in various journals, including Full House Literary and Roi Faineant Press. Her writing bridges the gaps between generations and self, hurt and healing. Beth lives in Ohio with her husband and two children and works for a company that provides technology to people without natural speech. Her latest publications can be found here: https://linktr.ee/mulcahea.