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The thought of golden, crispy pancakes swamped my mind as I entered the kitchen. The knob flicked on and within seconds, the burner lit ablaze like the grid of a city lurching back to life after a blackout. Afraid of the big fire monster mama warned me about, I jumped off the chair - only to burn my hand before I let out a blood-curling scream and scampered upstairs. Tiptoeing past my parents’ room, I flew into my sister's room and nose-dived onto her bed.
"Sissy!" No response.
Pulling her hair, I was determined to wake her up at 6am on Christmas morning.
"SISSY!!" Still no response.
In my final desperate attempt, I yanked all the blankets off and hollered at the top of my lungs.
" SSII -" Thump. I was double-whammied smack in the face.
I quickly pulled her out of bed and dragged her into the kitchen, where a small catastrophe had occurred. It was as if WWIII had ravaged the kitchen - bowls were strewn on the countertop, measuring cups were covered in unidentifiable foods, and best of all - pancake mix was EVERYWHERE.
I quickly pointed to the stove, shouting and flapping my arms like a parrot.
"Burning! Burning! Burning!"
My sister quickly sat me down on the ground and I looked down, thinking she was going to yell at me. I quickly stuttered out an apology.
“I’m really really sorry. I mean it. I- I only wanted to make it for you guys. I- I thought -”
And then the tears came pouring out.
“Shh!!! Mom will think I bullied you again!"
My sister pulled up my hand and quickly started bandaging it. In this one-woman war, I had forgotten I acquired a battle wound. Without saying a word, she gave me a big hug and placed me on the counter top. Then, she cleaned the mess and started a new batch of pancakes. Looking back, she never asked WHY I thought 9 year old me in my onesie covered in pancake gunk and flour whiskers, could even make pancakes. But cooking never needed an answer, and neither did love.
That Christmas morning, there was a beginning, and an end. It was the birth of love, and the death of my future cooking career.