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July 11, 2013
It’s like 7 o’clock on a school night, but the sound of bacon and sausage and a million other things sizzling in the frying pan is loud and clear for anyone who has functioning ears. Mom’s across the room, as far away from the stove as possible, lounging in a dining chair and waiting for the point where someone thinks to open the window so she can have relief from the scorching heat. Dad is running around doing a million different things, tripping over the dogs who take the risk of a harsh shoe to the rib in hope of a dropped piece of sausage or a burnt pancake tossed their way. Amanda is generally sulking over in the chair next to mom, waiting for the moment where she can crack the eggs and feeling upstaged by me in the meantime.

I, however, am active in the creation of our dinner for breakfast, or as active as dad will let me be. I start out by peeling off greasy strips of bacon and laying them down one by one, beside their sizzling and popping brothers. I don’t really like this job, to be honest. I would much rather be cooking the hash browns, which will invariably turn into potatoes O’Brien despite my vehement protests against vegetables of any kind sullying my beautiful, greasy, burnt potato slices. It’s not the slimy texture of the strips of meat that turns me off to the job, or simply the feeling of touching what used to be a living, breathing, snorting animal. It’s the moment when the bacon begins to pop that scares me, the tiny particles of grease flying up and inflicting miniscule burns on the bare arm.

I am terrified of being burned, for whatever reason. I’ve always found the idea of frost bite infinitely more bearable than an acid burn. Well, I did, at least until I saw a picture of a frost bite inflicted foot posted by my best friend on twitter, an affliction that had never been a risk in my native Delaware. That pussed-up purple thing may have swayed my stomach for a few hours post viewing, but my mind remains dead set in its notion that frost bite is preferable to scorched skin.

My dad, however, has no such qualms. It’s a mystery to me when and where it happened, but I know my dad has been burned badly before, bearing the oddly textured scar of a skin transplant, and thus seems to have zero fear of the flames. Where I flinch away as I toss a log into the fire, he brazenly sticks his hand into the flames to adjust an important twig. Where I gingerly ease a pizza out of the oven, he thrusts his hand in and plops the meal onto the counter, letting out a harsh curse only after the job is done.

My dad seems invincible at these times, when he calmly nudges me away and turns the bacon over without fear of the grease that now seems to be actively lurching out of the pan in revenge for its fate. So I, just as calmly (in order to save face), walk away, open the window for my mother who gives a grateful sigh of relief, and make my way over the toaster in order to facilitate the beautiful metamorphosis of bread into toast. Before I get there, I am caught up in a hug from behind and it turns out that there is one kind of warmth I can handle after all.

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