When I was little, I would stand at the fridge grasping flourescent magnetic letters, trying to make designs. We would eat dinner at the mint-green counter that protruded from the wall, my dad on the left, my mom on the right, me in the middle. I was allowed in the kitchen, just like any other room. On holidays, a warm, festive spirit hung gently in the air. We made potato latkes and Chanukah cookies, singing and dancing as we cooked.As I grew, the spokes on the tall chairs around the counter-table began to break, one by one, until one day a chair collapsed altogether. We still sat around the table, my mom on the right, me in the middle ... and an empty space on the left.I still stood at the fridge with my letters, but now I tried to make words. When I was told they said nothing, I was genuinely angry. A new type of frustration bubbled up from my baby belly and caught in my throat. That child still screams inside me, unheard.On holidays, we make potato latkes and Chanukah cookies, and a warm festivity hangs in the air. Only now the stress and fatigue hang there, too. I think that chair is still sitting in the basement. Broken. fl
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.