I Remember

February 13, 2009
By natalie_loves_rain BRONZE, Alta Loma, California
natalie_loves_rain BRONZE, Alta Loma, California
3 articles 0 photos 2 comments

I can remember, I have it still. Cold mornings I would wake up, I would pad over to the kitchen, groggy with sleep. I would smell. My whole chest would fill up with the tea steaming on the table, boiling hot and sweet. That?s the first thing I did was smell. It had fingers, played with my nose and filled the air, wrapped me in like a blanket. It was the smell of syrupy canola oil and thick chocolate milk, unmade tortillas resting in a white mass by the stove. I could even smell her hands, working there, shaping the tortillas steady and sure.

Then I would see my grandpa, smiling with his eyes and waiting to share his tea and cookies. I would sit in his lap and he?d sing to me, funny songs I thought him brilliant for making up. Waiting for breakfast, he would tell me stories about the ghost that lived in the lemon trees. It was a woman, he said, a woman that cried for her children because she drowned them in the river. I swear I saw her once. And he was all the time doing magical things, putting pennies in his skin and eggs in my hair. He made an M&M disappear behind the refrigerator once. Afterward he would laugh because my face was funny, he said, and I can now imagine that it was, awestruck and amazed as I felt. But sometimes, even when I was older and no longer felt so amazed, I would act that way just to see his eyes crinkle in the corners.

That kitchen was all shades of brown, from milky tan to dark tree bark. The floors were slippery and clean, always. Mornings meant no stepping on them with bare feet, or I?d get sick. So, extra careful that I had socks on, I?d sit with my grandpa and eat breakfast. I could taste the food before putting it in my mouth, the salt and sweet and warm mingling in the back of my throat. The bowls were hard plastic for me, but my grandpa?s was big and glass. Painted roses weaved through each other at the rim. My grandma never used a bowl. She ate standing up and running around. Her hands flew like little birds, pecking at this and that, making more food, washing dishes. She would hum all the while, some Spanish love song, most likely. Every time she walked past me, her little bird hands would reach for my face, rearrange my hair, or rub my shoulder. Her fingers were always smooth and cool, like feathers. Sitting there as she ran around, I could hear the pitter-patter of the little dogs feet as she followed my grandma?s humming. I could hear the paces my grandmother took too, short and quick, and my grandpa?s chewing, sometimes crunchy, sometimes soft. I remember the clicking of the stove, the flame that sprung from beneath the burner. I remember the sounds, the smells, the tastes. I remember what I saw.
But most, I remember how warm it was in that kitchen. I remember how I believed my grandpa when he told me stories, how I trusted with all of my heart that he made an egg appear in my hair. I remember how good it felt when my grandma would braid my hair, touch my face, when I would watch her scurrying around like a busy little mouse. I remember crinkling eyes, little bird hands, and the hot, sweet tea that filled my chest whenever I stepped foot into my grandmother?s kitchen.

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