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Kitchen Fire

The thick burnt scent of roasted coffee fills the atmosphere. The room is dimmed, only the windows illuminated by the sky, layered with brisk sunlight behind stained curtains provide as the only source of glow, crawling its way along every inch of the room. The wall clock, which hangs from the wall from a single rusty nail, has it’s hour hand pointed south at six, signaling the start of another lazy morning. Cold December air ripples through the atmosphere, making noses red and fingers numb. However, despite the winter shivers, the quiet kitchen of the house provides overwhelming warmth.

The rosewood table is bare, only littered with a few mugs and coffee stained napkins make up most of its space. This table, scarred with scratches and dents of clumsy cups falling and fork scrapings, is centered in the room is surrounded by matching chairs. Chairs so tall, that even a giant’s bare toes would merely gently graze the cold tiles underneath. As one sits on the towering chairs, they’d find themselves shoulder to shoulder with the person next to them, casually hearing the other slurp their coffee rather loudly or the occasional “hm” or “ah” as they read the morning paper. Although there is barely any talking around the table, one can’t help but feel cozy and a tad bit closer to the person they are seated next to.

The tinted white wall surrounding the small space is littered with pictures and photographs of hopeful times. Photographs of dimples smiles and crayon stick figures hang limply on the peeling wallpaper. A humble wooden sign that reads “God Bless This Home” is perched against the door frame, tilted slightly to left, welcoming guests into the
vacancy. The wall clock and its golden rings and golden carousel with polished stallions circling slowly underneath the numbers, stand out among the tired things on the wall. Although the wall itself is blemished with unrecognizable stains, the memories and treasures on it outshine its faults.

The stove turns on with a gust of gasoline that turns up the fire. Clatters of pans and pots pierce through the silence. Nimble fingers graze over numerous containers of different shapes and sizes all labeled with different spices on a slab of peeling duct tape. Occasionally the stove would buzz quietly, hinting that it is time to replace it with a new one. The woman, hovered over the rusty oven, hums a quiet tune over the sizzling of the pan. The tired dog, lies next to her loyally as the sound of his labored breathes goes in synch to the woman’s humming. Although she sings out of tune, the birds perched by the window still whistle along with her.

There are times, however, where the kitchen is silent. Times when newspapers stop turning, pans stops sizzling, and the birds outside stop whistling, as if they too know that a wave of silence has engulfed the room. These are the times where one will close their eyes, with the faint sound of silence buzzing in their ears, and where the gentle brush of shoulders takes place. At these times, will one feel the peace and tranquil of the room pulse in their fingertips, and where the true warm essence of the kitchen is so strong, that with their eyes closed, one may mistaken it as a kitchen fire.



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