The First to Go

The first time you cook for her after moving in, make sure it’s something fancy. A rubbed pork-loin perhaps. Spend a week researching it online, and all day cooking it. When she comes home, the delicious smells will permeate the hallway. Serve it with ginger mashed potatoes and Harissa-infused butter. “What’s Harissa?” she’ll ask. You will explain. It will be delicious.

After you get engaged, take things a step further. Prepare an Indian-spiced turkey with a green rub that sits in the fridge for days. It will look disgusting but result in the most juicy, flavorful, subtly-spiced turkey any of your friends have ever tasted. Serve it at the annual Thanksgiving potluck. It will be the first to go. 

 image by Meredith Counts

image by Meredith Counts

Collect spices. Common and obscure ones. Things she’s never heard of. Things she has no idea how to use. Garam masala. Fenugreek. 6 varieties of pepper. So many spices that you quickly run out of room in the limited cabinet space provided in a small, New York City apartment. Build a custom spice cabinet from scratch to accommodate them all. A narrow base cabinet, 6 inches wide and 24 inches deep. Buy a new wooden butcher-block countertop to cover it, and while you’re at it, replace the old, peeling Formica countertop throughout the entire kitchen. 

Go to sleep and never wake up. A month before your wedding, she will be out of town and one of your closest friends will find you there, in bed, covers wrapped around your still body. The spice rack, and spices, and the hard drive full of untried recipes will remain. Maybe one day she’ll find the strength to use them.


- Gyda Arber is a theatrical writer/director best known for the transmedia theatrical experiences Suspicious Package (The Brick, 59E59, Edinburgh Fringe, Future Tenant: Pittsburgh), Suspicious Package: Rx (published in Plays and Playwrights 2010), the award-winning post-apocalyptic dating show FutureMate (Lincoln Center, The Brick) and the ARG-inspired Red Cloud Rising (called “brilliant” by the NY Times). Named “Person of the Year” by nytheatre.com, Arber is the director/creator of the interactive play Q&A: The Perception of Dawn, the writer/director of the short film Watching (Bride of Sinister Six), and the director of The Brick/FringeNYC sold-out hit Theater of the Arcade: Five Classic Video Games Adapted for the Stage. Also an actress, Arber has appeared at Lincoln Center, The Public, 59E59, and most frequently at The Brick, where she also serves as the executive producer of the Game Play festival, a celebration of video game performance art. A graduate of NYU and the Maggie Flanigan Studio, Arber is a 4th-generation San Franciscan, currently residing in Brooklyn. www.thefifthwall.info