A request I cannot deny

June 29, 2013

Aren’t most writers egos waiting to be petted like a lap cat…mine is. I try to stay humble though, because we should never assume we are already the best at what we do. Sure we should remember confidence is the key to moving forward, our work improving, but overly confident is often a sign of an arse, well in my book it is. I haven’t met an overly confident person I really care to linger with in any room…

Avocado Kitchen With A Gold Accented Childhood: a mosaic prose collection of my adolescent voice

#2

When I watched momma cook, I learnt— if you squeeze lemon into milk it will sour, replacing buttermilk in biscuits for a family with little to feed, because a daddy guzzled down his paycheck and found his self in a drunk tank for days. She took me through each step, as a movement to remember curves.

The feel of the mix squishing between my fingers; flour, butter, eggs, baking soda and the curdled white substance she had poured into the mixing bowl, becomes sticky. Momma said to throw flour onto the counter before I dump it out. Cool flour only added to growing lumps on my hands.

Excitement doesn’t listen.

She shows me how to roll it out and cut perfect rounds with a cold glass. We have no money for a cutter she said.

Hunger waits for no one.

And there is no need for butter or jelly on those fat hot pieces of bread. I often wondered what would happen if milk sat out all day next to the hot stove, would it become an even bigger monster than learning to fit in at school with dyslexia, and facing the bullies at each turn.

#4

Did mom even notice sisters gum stuck to the underside of our bedroom window ceil, when she would herd us into the backroom to take a nap on our small mattress. My brother got to stay in his room and play with his microscope set. She said it was to help with her headaches each day.

Eventually we gave into the tiredness of it all. I would lie so still, reminding me of when all seven of her children from two marriages slept in one room. The oldest two sisters slept at one end holding my little sister, I at the other with the box fan blowing right into my face, and hoping they wouldn’t kick me.

The white noise drowned out my mother’s crying when daddy stormed out in anger in the late night. Often he never returned home. But we would hear the phone ring, and it was the police letting her know he was having a sleep over.

After a few hours we got up from the nap, my sister would simply pull off one of the wads of gum and chew it over and over. Depression makes you want to roll up in a ball, and hope the world doesn’t chew you up.

(first published in Wordgathering.com September 2012)

#1

I never cared much for the taste of coffee. But the wonderful smell of it brewing my nostrils, and awakened me without it ever touching my lips. If we rose before momma or daddy it was our responsibility to make a fresh pot. Four scoops of freeze dried beans into the old percolator metal bed- slip it into the tiny hole in the bottom of the pot, fill it with water, and plug it in. The coffee would perk up and swirl brown in the clear plastic top on the lid. I was watching water boil.

Running the old gold and red coffee grinder at our local A&P was another thing I enjoyed. I would press my chest and arms up against it when it came alive making loud one pound grinding noises. Pull a lever and out it came; spilling out, and the overflow sometimes went all over the floor. You had to roll down the top of a foil bag to lock in freshness, and then place it into our shopping cart. Off to find momma was the next challenge.

Everyone in the house liked their cup of Joe black, but me. If I even gave it a minute of my time, staining moms shiny new speckled counter top with clumsy spillage, I would slip whole cream and six teaspoons full of sugar into its depths. No matter how much I stirred, the coffee was bitter and left an oily film on my tongue. It is an acquired grown-up taste everyone would say.

 

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