Bananas and Maple Syrup This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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“What would you like?” Your server is French Canadian, of course, but she speaks excellent English.

You order in French – pretty good French, if you say so yourself. Still, you point to the menu and gesticulate more than necessary. You select a dessert crêpe with bananas and maple syrup.

You smile at Elizabeth, who sits across from you, sipping her water. You met in ninth-grade gym class and are now inseparable; you're incredibly lucky for that. She is, too. She needs your easy-going optimism and artistic intuition as much as you need her logic and realism. She needs your dessert-for-lunch nature, and you need her lunch-for-lunch common sense. That's part of how you got here. Elizabeth wouldn't travel without you.

You look around inconspicuously. You're obviously tourists, with your orange knapsacks and wide-eyed naivety, but you don't see the need to wave that around. You're embarrassed by tourists like those at the next table.

“Can I have a creep with jam-bun and from-agey,” the ragged, sagging creature of a mother shouts, jabbing a crooked talon at the menu, “seal-view-plate?

You want to tell her that shouting won't make the waitress understand, but you resist. You shake your head and return to your water, ignoring the woman and her ham-and-cheese crêpe and her awkward, sticky children.

Time slows, moving like syrup on the crêpe you anticipate so eagerly. You wait an hour, or maybe only five minutes. Now that you see your plate coming, it no longer matters.

The server sets down your crêpe, and you see it in one fleeting moment as an abstract portrait of yourself. Of all the variations of this dish and its countless combinations, this is the one you chose. This crêpe is you. You are bananas and maple syrup.

The sum of your life events has placed you in here. Everything from the day you fell down the stairs at the age of two to your ninth-grade trip to Niagara Falls has molded you into this banana-and-maple-syrup person who sits in a crêpe house in Quebec, watching the snow fall, thinking of identity, of life.

You sit back and feel the room around you profoundly. You feel everything at once in a beautiful collision of rock and dim yellow lights. Still reeling from your epiphany, you tuck your napkin into your collar and begin to eat.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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