Daniel Grandbois

The Kettle


All day the kettle boils. Sal says she’ll have none of it, but the kettle doesn’t give a hoot for anyone but itself. She stuffs toilet paper in her ears and lies in bed, waiting for the villain to stop. Each morning, the kettle is steaming again. If she had a husband, she could blame him; if a child, a good scolding would be in order, but Sal has only herself and the kettle.

She took it on a walk and left it in the park, but the next morning, there was the kettle on her stovetop, whistling merrily. She tried again, going further into the old quarter and leaving the kettle in a twisted alleyway. When it returned, the woman felt both attracted and repulsed by it. Such tugs from opposite directions did not go unnoticed by her body, which aged rapidly in response, as things are prone to do under such duress. Still, from Sal’s perspective, the aging proceeded at the usual, interminable pace, as if it were a kettle being watched.

Her kettle lost its whistle. Sal mourned and came to whistle for it, timidly at first but soon with full voice, sometimes even before the water inside had reached a boil. When the handle broke, Sal took to holding the kettle to her breast to carry it to the sink. And when the kettle rusted through, she filled herself with water. That’s how he found her, back from overseas.