Anything in a Pancake

This is probably the last time we’ll be able to do this, Nelle says. Out of the corner of my eye I watch her open the kitchen drawer, the utensils clinking as she shuffles through them, searching for a fork. She shuts the drawer again after a moment, fork-less, and steps through the doorway, into the lounge.

I stand at the counter, spatula in hand and a griddle, sporting eight miniature pancakes, in front of me. Beside me, in the space between this white counter and the East-ward window, Katie stands at the stove, watching bacon heat, grease popping and snapping as the strips of meat turn from pink to the rich burgundy of crispy bacon. As tiny bubbles first appear, and then grow and finally pop, in my pancakes, I think about Nelle’s words.

She was referring to Sunday Night Pancakes. A tradition begun semesters ago, the Sunday evenings of my freshman year were spent division wildly inventive, and debatably delicious, pancakes recipes. Each Sunday evening, we’d gather in the lounge to hear the testimony of one of the girls; sitting curled on our hand-me-down couches, propped on the ground, dipping Red Velvet Chocolate Chip pancakes in syrup and whipped cream.

We went through almost the whole floor my freshman year. Pick a Sunday, pick a recipe, tell your story. That’s what we did.

We’ve had pancakes in the years since then, but testimony time has shifted, developed, and now it’s a special event, a night worth noting, when we mix Bisquick in the kitchen, fry bacon in the black-stained pan, toss chocolate chips into round circles of batter, already beginning to bubble on the griddle. It’s a special event, on this Sunday evening, and here’s Nelle saying it’s well-nigh the last.

The last because we’ve two more weeks of classes, another of finals, and then Saturday comes warm and bright and these same hallways that now smell of maple bacon and the smoke of black stains on communal dishes will be empty, bare, quiet hallways. This is the last, or near the last, because Nelle herself, along with Di, Mar, and 400 others, will graduate in two weeks. Their days at this school, and in this kitchen, are coming to an end very soon.

Nelle comes back into the kitchen as Katie begins to pull a second batch of bacon, six brown-red strips of crunchiness, out of the greasy pan. Watching for a moment, Nelle glances from the bacon plate to the loops of batter I’ve spread across the buttery griddle before me. She wants to make a bacon pancake.

Chuckling, Katie and I affirm her dream; Go, Nelle, achieve you dream! Live life to the fullest! Put bacon into your pancake!

She does. Pulling the grease-wet strip apart, she presses the bacon bits into the wet batter of the pancake. Small piece, she sets them randomly across the surface of the pancake. One piece left, there’s nowhere to put it, I lean over from where I’m standing at her elbow. Eat it!

But then she’s pressed that piece into the batter, too, wiping her shining finger tips on a paper towel laboriously stolen from the towel dispenser in the bathroom.

What kind of pancake did you choose when you did your testimony? Nelle asks, glancing at my half-baked pancake, their bubbles slowly beginning to form, expand. I pause for a moment, spatula in mid-air, as if frozen in some kind of kitchen free dance. I can’t remember, so I tell her that. She nods as she reaches between Katie and me, absently stirring the huge blue bowl containing the last sticky lumps of pancake batter.

You really can put anything in a pancake,
she observes almost wistfully, green eyes lowering until they’re finally overshadowed, curtailed, by long blonde lashes.

Anything in a pancake.

Anything in a friendship.

And anything in three weeks left in this semester of 16; any learning, any wonder, any hurt, any pain, any discussion.

You can put anything in a pancake. Like He can put anything in life.

And He does it well.

~Natalia

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Diana
    Apr 28, 2014 @ 02:42:14

    This one made me tear up…

    Reply

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