John’s Oven

The first draft of this story goes all the way back to 1996 and the first writing group I ever joined.

An ageing oven symbolizes the weak spot in a long-term romance.

The Magnolia Review published this story on January 16, 2019. Purchase your downloadable copy today for only $2 USD by clicking on the above link.

The Magnolia Review was conceived by Bowling Green State University creative writing undergraduates and started accepting submissions for their first issue in August 2014. Suzanna Anderson is the Editor-in-Chief and Founder.

Here’s an excerpt of the story:

Fiddling uselessly with the silver dial, John realized even when the oven worked, it was unreliable – especially where Laura was concerned. The temperature settings wore off years earlier but their absence never troubled John. As far as he was concerned, an oven needed three settings: Off, On and Broil. What more could be necessary for reheating pizza, cooking fish sticks, or warming samosas? Yet Laura never saw it that way.

“Umm, John, how do you use this thing?” she asked after moving in.

He found the question baffling and stared at her. “The handle is right here,” he finally said, laughing nervously as he opened the oven door. “And there are two racks inside for setting food on. See?”

Her expression was of someone enduring a bad and tasteless joke. “That’s not what I mean. How do you know when you’ve got the right temperature?”

He shrugged. “Usually, I just turn it to about there.” He gave the dial a three-quarter turn.

“And what temperature is that?”

John remembered getting asked questions in grade school, when the answer seemed so painfully obvious he was sure it couldn’t be right. At last he replied: “Hot.”