Particles float along the surface of my coffee. Normally, I’d pay tribute to the chemical composition of soy milk, but these are the remnants of sleeping in until 10:00 and missing Dad’s daily 5:30 brew. Familiar, not stagnant, it tastes just like home.
Including the ten hours of sleep, 45 minutes of Dad diagnosing that my ankle is, in-fact, “sprained,” twenty minutes of shoveling black beans, rice and ice-cream out of the tub into my mouth, and two minutes of re-heating drip coffee in the microwave, I’ve been home for fourteen hours. I’ve managed to decorate the canary placemates of the kitchen high-top with my Macbook and mirror less camera; my black Moleskin a sharp contrast to the ceramic turquoise bowl I brought back from Mexico in 2008.
The key chain clanks against the front door and I don’t have to turn around to know that the sight of my dark, curly hair and exposed shoulders is more than enough to make him smile. “What a pleasure to walk in and see you here,” Dad sighs. “Are you hungry? I’m making blueberry pancakes.”
It’s a declaration not an inquisition, to which I reply, “of course.” There’s no need to mention veganism and I’d be damned if I tried to demonstrate how flax meal and water is an easy substitute for an egg. Aunt Jemima is the lady of the hour and Log Cabin maple syrup is a given for any pancake party.
Dad turns to me to butter my own triple-stack; “I know you don’t use much of this these days,” he smirks with the pride of remembering one of my multiple ‘dietary choices.’
He invites his new Samsung 4 into our conversation and spills the excitement of the last week onto his keypad. His phone was drowned by the washing machine yesterday and irony has shrieked drops of water to sound every time he dials a stiff new number. Normally I’d offer to adjust this setting, but when a soundtrack composes itself, you let it play.
The woman on speakerphone is named Katie, “just like my daughter,” and she promises that his daughter is covered under the current car policy. He feels accomplished and uses a thin-tipped Sharpie to check Insurance off of the list.
The toaster acted out and electrocuted our cockatiel on Tuesday, leaving his beek a tender shade of grey. Home Depot would market this paint color as “Stainless Steel.”
“What would you have done if Tiki would’ve electrocuted himself, Dad?!”
“Checked the fuse box, obviously.”
He takes Tiki out of his cage and he flutters onto his shoulder, the highest point in the room. Dad sticks out his tongue instinctively, an action of affection that invites Tiki to eat chewed blueberries out of his mouth. “Well let’s see how many people are clamoring for my attention today,” he challenges his Yahoo email account.
“Are you expecting any emails, Dad?”
“Well you’re an inquisitive little Devil, aren’t you?”
He knows me too well.
“Home Depot is hiring in three locations. Austin works tonight, right?”
As I’m yet to see my brother, I can’t help but chuckle that I don’t know the answer to that. He sees me as a permanent installation, not a holiday decoration; like those Christmas fairy lights you leave up year-round to remind you to celebrate between the homecomings and seasons.
“I wrapped your ankle. Will you give me a pedicure?”
“Of course I’ll give you a pedicure, Dad.”
“Oh, but of course.”
“The place you’re going, that’s pronounced A-Mirror, right?”
“It’s Izmir, Dad.”
“But you told me to think of it like A-Mirror.”
“No, I told you to think of it like it Is-Mirror. Like, incorrect English, Is-Mirror.”
He takes a bite of his blueberry pancakes and says with his mouth full, “Now you know I didn’t raise you to use incorrect English.”