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I managed to wash some dishes with an old sponge (again, struggling to ignore the bacteria infesting and probably entering my body). I read the recipe, searched for utensils, and began to cook. I pounded the chicken between wax paper, breaded it, put tomato-basil feta on each fillet, and folded over these fillets. When the chicken went in the oven, I set to work on a recipe Heather had given me for a side dish of orecchiette pasta, garlic, Parmesan, and sautéed zucchini.

I've heard the hardest part of preparing a meal is to orchestrate simultaneous completion, so that everything is served at the same time. Despite my inexperience, as if by divine intervention, the pasta and zucchini-Parmesan sauce were mixed together within two minutes of when the chicken was due from the oven. Voilà! Perfect, though unplanned, timing. David's trained nose followed the saliva-inducing smells, and he chose a white wine to go with dinner. I showed David his roses, and he fetched the tulips he'd gotten for my desk. We exchanged cards, each of them funny and flirtatious. Then he tasted my food, and the moment he looked at me and said, "Wow, this is delicious," I felt myself wanting to cook for him every night.

I left him alone for a moment while I prepared dessert -- heart-shaped strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and Häagen-Däzs ice cream on individual angel-food cakes. For this, David produced from the cupboard a raspberry wine we acquired on a trip to Vermont.

My father often tells people something he learned from his Church of What's Happening Now: "You are where you are right now because of a series of choices you have made in your life." This quote ran through my mind as I savored the sweets and the company of my Valentine and thought to myself, You've chosen wisely.

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