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A Sudden Memory

You know it well: that smell that reminds you of that one thing, that specific thing.
For me it was drinking my coffee with butter cookies, the air wet from rain. The memory started with a faraway flutter, and now its edges are clear and shimmering. The morning kitchen of my grandmother, Helen.

Warm. The sound of the gas stove click clicking to light. My Grandmother’s shuffly fussing. Bright patterns of her house-dress float in the space around me. I smell steaming coffee with butter on toast for my grandfather. Sweetbread sits on a white plate. Its my plate, the one she gives me for breakfast every time I visit. It has small, hand painted, yellow flowers along its edge. Its special because the porcelain is older than I am. I find that odd. She chides me, corrects me, grills me about school. Her hands are sharp. Her fingers hurt. She grips me to sit up straight. I hate her for my mother, but I love her for myself. I love her methodical life, for the immense care that fills the silence between her words, and for the promise of sweet bread and a sip of coffee on that rainy day.

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