First, take a frying pan.
Don’t think about how she left you after ten years together.
Don’t think about the heart-shaped hole in your chest.
Add some oil to the pan and heat it over medium heat.
Think about the stomach-shaped hole that will soon be filled.
Take a razor-sharp knife — this is important so the onions don’t make you cry — and dice the onions finely.
Wipe away your tears anyway. It’s okay, no one can see you, and you can always blame the onions.
Put the onions in the frying pan and coat them in oil.
Chop the asparagus into pieces.
Hold silent and still for a moment while the onions sizzle.
It’s going to be hard, but you can do it.
The onions will grow more delicious, and you will grow calmer.
Add the asparagus and the chicken breasts.
Be very patient while you let the chicken take on a golden glow.
Don’t think about how patient you thought you were being with her.
Don’t think about the midnight fights, or the four am fight that ended it all.
Don’t think about what you regret saying, or what you regret not saying, or what she didn’t say.
Find a fresh bunch of basil.
Pluck it from the potted plant she set up on your balcony if it hasn’t yet burned up in the sun.
Take a moment to enjoy its delicate perfume before breaking the leaves off of the stem.
Think about the other herbs you might want to grow on your balcony, since she’s now taught you how.
Pour the cream into the pan.
Let the sauce thicken. Aim for thick as honey.
It will not get that thick, but you will have tried. Just like you tried with her.
And when you fail, it will be because some things just cannot be forced. Cream just cannot resemble honey.
Add a splash of lemon juice.
Top with basil.
Taste, and season to your liking and only to yours.
Cut yourself a slice of fresh bread.
Don’t think about her soft and doughy curves.
Think about her laugh, years ago, when you baked your first loaf of bread.
Think about the next few recipes you plan to try out.
Think about how there’ll now be enough to drop off at your brother’s, and how pleased he’ll be.
Finally… bon appétit.