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the empty

The fat girl as they call her, came to school with a hypodermic needle in her backpack. It may have been to defend herself, it may have been to instigate something. She comes from a broken home and this is her second or third school. E steers clear of her, and the bullies she tangles with. It was never understood  - how things began, who threw the first insult, the first punch, the first grabbed book but the end is a chronic cycle of violence. At one point, the girl's mother got the police involved and this was seen as offensive, a step too far. The police did not resolve anything so it was all just a lot of saber rattling. That is the most common sound here. The empty threat.

Last week, there was a sobrani, sort of a cross between a parent-teacher conference and a school meeting. I was busy, so E went by herself and took notes. Five minutes in she messaged me, that I was wise not to be there. Nothing about this girl was going to be resolved.
"Boys will be boys" was all …

the significance of egg sandwiches

"Hey Pop. You know - a long, long time before, I think I had a nanny with red hair. Big red hair." E says across the kitchen table, resting her egg sandwich on the plate. 

"Sometimes life is like five minutes and then you are thinking and you remember something and it is maybe a dream." She continues. "But maybe it isn't."
She never had a nanny with red hair.
There was a pony with red hair. His name was Rijik, and he had a giant belly.

Yesterday was Father's Day. I think of how I spent my first, when E was one. Her mother sent me off, telling me no one should have to be with their family on such a day, that I should be alone. She told me to go get drunk and write. Sleep-deprived, and easily manipulated I listened, warping myself to fit her logic, nodding my head and getting dressed. I went out, notebook tucked under my arm into the Sunday afternoon of Greenwich, Connecticut. I had not written in months, maybe years at that time.  

I sat at the bar in a restaurant I knew and ordered a martini, and a little something to eat. Spreading the notebook open, I rubbed the seams, to make it stay flat. I wrote the date at the top, and ruffled through the pages of a half-finished story, The Radio Hour. My editor at the time had convinced me to work in first person which I had never done before. It felt impossible. I downed the drink in sweaty gulps, finished the tiny plate of food and ordered another martini.

Tall blonde girls were entering, sliding onto the empty stools next to me. Their skin smooth, their straight hair pulled into upsweeps. I smelled light perfume. I could not remember seeing shirts so crisp and white before. The empty page hovered above the dark wood of the bar. I paid the check, and finished the drink in measured sips. Standing up, I felt the alcohol all at once and wandered out into the hot, sunny afternoon and Greenwich Avenue. I started to walk up the hill. I had been gone less than an hour. 

I turned around and headed home.



First, cut the edges from the bread and set them to toast in the oven. Scramble one egg. Drop a pat of butter in the pan, and swirl it around once it begins to foam. Drop the egg in and tilt the pan around until you have a thin pancake. As the edges cook, flip one third into the center, then the opposite third. Next, turn the long ends in, until you have a perfect square in the center of the pan. Take the toast out, and butter lightly. Put one piece of bacon in the empty space on the pan. The egg can go on the toast now. A light salting, and a quarter turn of fresh black pepper. Flip the bacon. Pour juice in her glass. Call her, tell her it is ready. The bacon goes right on the egg, a little bit of the fat seeping in. Cut it on the diagonal.

She smiles, sighs and bites into it.
"My favorite." She says, between mouthfuls.





Comments

liv said…
If asked, I am sure she would say - "I have the best Dad in the world". She knows who you are like nobody else does and you know the same of her. That's the best kind of Love.

That little egg sandwich, such a sweet and simple thing ennobled and made golden by a loving Dad. Priceless.
Annie said…
Good daddy....beautiful home.
city said…
nice posting.. thanks for sharing.

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