The Bread Maker

I don’t want to forget,

10pm, standing at the kitchen island,

in this house on the corner

in this little town miles outside of the city.

Too hot for fleece sweats, warm night air blows through the screen panel in the back door.

Outside, in the driveway, my shoes lie discarded in the passenger seat;

with weather like this, shoes are the first thing to go.

There are other cars in the driveway, too.

Cars of the five voices, five visitors, who’ve filled the living room,

the dining room,

the nook,

this evening.

Five guys and one professor, and their intricate board games,

their strategy cards and rules books littering the tables.

Standing at the island, my computer before me,

the sounds of the evening surround me, gently encompass me.

Games, good natured trash talk wafts through the kitchen.

Across from me, next to the back door, the bread maker sits atop the counter.

Quiet now, it cycles through the phases of baking, sometimes resting, silent, other times beating the bread, kneading the dough so violently that all I hear is the hard thump, thump, thump, and the slight rocking of the machine against the cabinets.

The mother of the house, herself a professor, is here in the kitchen, too.

She’s washing dishes, cleaning the kitchen, organizing.

We’re not usually up this late, but it’s a special night, with spring floating through the windows,

and we’re savoring the cozy bustle, the welcoming pulse, of the action in the house.

I’m googling facts, compiling a St. Patrick worksheet,

when someone mentions the troll song,

that repetitive, obnoxiously catchy beat connected to the internet troll phenomenon.

And then the professor’s there in the nook, gaming cards spread before him,

singing the song I’d barely managed to forget since its last mention,

and there in the kitchen, we know what pay back looks like,

and let’s be honest, it’s a rare soul who doesn’t know the words,

so then we’re two in the kitchen, working our way through Let It Go,

building to the crescendo,

arms flung across the island,

dragging the syllables long.

And of course, we’re only adding to the hum of the house on that late Monday night,

but all that motion and life, it just swirls together,

sinking, blending into the soundtrack of an evening of games and work,

cleaning and singing,

washing dishes and eating snacks,

while the bread maker beats its mechanical pulse,

and outside,

the snow just keeps melting, melting, melting,

as spring comes closer, step by slow, relishing, delicious step.

~Natalia

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