Skip to main content

Yesterday's slice, discounted.

"You know," she continued. "That one thing that your family always has for Thanksgiving. That whenever you don't have it, the whole thing just feels wrong." She went back to eating her burrito bowl and I sat quietly for a moment.

"No." I said. "We don't have anything like that."

We always made the pumpkin pie together. It was just a tradition that started before I was aware of traditions. It was just an absolute of the holidays. It was never Thanksgiving without us getting together one evening and making a pumpkin pie. As a child, I used to love doing it. I felt so grown up. This was something my dad was doing. There were so many things to do, so many ways to help.

Cutting open the pumpkin. Pulling out all the innards. Separating the seeds for later. Cutting the pumpkin. Steaming it. Mashing it. Mixing it.

As I grew older, I learned to hate doing it. My time was too valuable to waste making a pumpkin pie. If it was something my dad wanted to do as a yearly routine, fine. I had no interest slaving over a pie. There were just so many things to do.

Cutting open the pumpkin. Pulling out all the innards. Separating the seeds for later. Cutting the pumpkin. Steaming it. Mashing it. Mixing it.

And then, as I grew even older, I learned to appreciate it. Not routine, tradition. It was comforting. Relaxing. Meditative, even. I could see why my dad enjoyed doing it so much. And, finally, why he wanted to do it together. There were so many things to do.

Cutting open the pumpkin. Pulling out all the innards. Separating the seeds for later. Cutting the pumpkin. Steaming it. Mashing it. Mixing it.

And then, one year, he wasn't there. And I stood, alone, in the kitchen.

Cutting open the pumpkin. Pulling out all the innards. Separating the seeds for later. Cutting the pumpkin. Steaming it. Mashing it. Mixing it.

It didn't come out the way it used to. It was too sweet. Something had gone wrong in my mix. It wasn't the same. Nobody said anything about it at dinner. They smiled and complimented me on making such a wonderful pie. I smiled politely back at them.

And the next year, when he came back, we didn't make pie.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

I wonder, sometimes.

I am standing on the edge of a cliff face. A breeze whips past me as I stare out into the darkness. It's a familiar sight, comforting. The river bends below me. It stretches out, away from me at both ends. The arch of the bridge traverses the river, silhouetted by the house lights and golf course below us. So far away from us. The highway reaches out before us, straight into the hills and disappears on the horizon. It is silent. There are no cars. No planes. No animals. It is just us standing on top of the cliff. As it should be. It's late. A late weeknight. Just a normal Tuesday night to the world. I step away from the edge.

In 5 minutes, I will be 22 years old.

It's a turning point in my life. A fixed checkpoint. I'm only 21 years old, I'm not an actual adult yet. Maybe legally. But I'm still a child. I'm immature, I laugh at fart jokes. I laugh at everything. Why would I take anything seriously? 21 years old and we still have no responsibilities. We can …

Like the river, I been running ever since.

I am running with a purpose. I have a mission. The pavement is unforgiving under my heels. There is no comfortable roll in my stride, only a dull thud and a rebound. I ignore it. These shoes are not made for running. In fact, as I understand it, they are not made for many things beyond walking and fashionably lounging. These shoes were designed with limitations. I can't help but cringe at the word. Limitations. I hate the word. No, the concept. The idea of it. A limit. A boundary. An innate disadvantage. I am sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall. It seems to be the same spot every time. Light from the window strikes the floor just beyond my feet. I stare ahead at the opposite wall. It is familiar. Not too much so, though. I can almost see the exact spot I always start staring at. He sits at his desk, staring at the computer. A mix of work and personal indulgences litters his screens. There is constant white noise. The scrolling of the mouse. The steady clack of the keyboa…

Somewhere in the universe.

"I recognized you from way over there." She said. We traversed the last few steps between us. I could hardly wipe the smile from my face. "Your face got wider," she added. "Whiter?" I asked, suddenly self-conscious. "Wider." She said. We embraced, again. "It's good to see you," she said. "How's it going?" I asked. "Good." She said, releasing me. She smiles again. I return the smile. "How are you?" I'm five years ago.

"I'm great."

As I walked away from the studio, through the abandoned construction site, I thought about it. The tower of the Children's Hospital I'd become so familiar with loomed in the distance. I'm tired of losing friends, especially the ones that really matter. It was the only thought that crossed my mind as I walked home.