Tuesday, April 11, 2006


My mother set the plate of spaghetti down in front of me and as she turned back to the stove I reached across the table, straining to get the salt and pepper. It was a two-in-one, with a black button that dispensed the pepper and a white button for salt. Tres early 80's. With one eye on my mother, I struggled to coordinate my small hands to reach both buttons at once, holding it over my plate. I stretched my fingers as far apart as they would go, steadying with my other hand, and pressed down on the buttons. I must have pressed too hard and for too long on the salt side because the entire contents spilled in a pile on my spaghetti. My breath caught, and my eyes grew wide. Panicking quietly, I put the shaker back in its spot. I looked up again to make sure my mother hadn’t noticed. What do I do? What do I do? I picked up my fork and stirred the salt into my spaghetti. Relief flooded in when I saw how easily it disappeared, but then I tasted it. It was horrible. I could barely swallow it.

“Hurry up, Rachel." My mother's voice startled me. "I'm in no mood to watch you sit there and pick at your food. Eat!”. I could tell I was getting on her last nerve. I took another bite, swallowing hard. I tried not to let the taste show on my face. I wondered how I was going to get through this one.

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