Wednesday, September 09, 2009


I’m washing a pot in the sink and suddenly I smell cookies, is someone baking cookies? But no, somehow the smell of the soap -- lemon-clementine zest -- plus the remainder of the mung beans -- cooked with carrots and celery, seasoned with red onions, cilantro, white pepper and sea salt -- somehow this combination, plus hot water and a sponge and my hands in a metal pot in a metal sink in my kitchen -- somehow all of this smells like cookies, and it’s delicious. I mean I can’t eat cookies because of the sugar and the flour and probably the rest of the ingredients too, but I do like the smell.

I wonder why they called those insoles cookies, the ones they gave me when I was 11 or 12, cookies for my back pain -- somehow I would add this extra arch support for my feet and then I wouldn’t be in pain. Does this ever work?

I felt like someone was breaking apart my body, right at my back, like I might just split in half and none of the specialists knew what to try, other than more tests or pain medication but I wasn’t supposed to have pain medication because I was too young. I did like eating cookies back then, at my grandmother Florence’s house she always had Pepperidge Farm Mint Milano, at our house we had the ones that came in bigger bags but they were chewy instead of crisp, what with those called? Chewy like the gingersnaps Rose had, but mint chocolate chip. They were new then, and my father was very excited.

But when I stopped eating, of course I couldn’t eat cookies. My father kept getting bigger bags, bigger bags and late at night I would get all crazed with hypoglycemia I didn’t know that’s what it was I just knew I needed cookies. I would open up the bag, and start eating them, but then I couldn’t stop and so I would stuff them into the trash can but then I would dig them out of the trash so I would pour water on them but then I would still dig them out so I started putting cigarette ashes on them. In the morning, or not the morning but the next night or whenever my father wanted to eat more cookies, maybe a few days would pass and he would ask what happened, what happened to the cookies. He suspected my mother, my mother was always on a diet. Actually we were all always on a diet, it’s just that my mother was always talking about it. Sometimes my father talked about his diet, too, but mostly he talked about my mother’s diet, taunting her with what he could eat and she couldn’t -- Karla, what happened to those cookies? And my sister, my sister would eat cookies too, and then vomit them up and my parents thought that was okay because she was a girl and no matter how fast the cookies disappeared my father would always bring home a fresh bag.


kayti said...

your dad and all of his thoughtfulness.

mattilda bernstein sycamore said...

I know -- what a sweetheart...

Love --