Written by: Shameka Erby
I watched her wash the blueberries off in the sink. The anticipation of her world’s famous blueberry pancakes was only overshadowed by the anticipation of watching her make them. I loved watching her. Her medium brown hands, small and quick, fortified with years of cooking love, but still soft enough to make me sigh when she touched me.
“I have to tell you something,” I said, my voice sounding small in her massive kitchen. The finished remodeling job was just a few months old, all white cabinets and butcher block counter, slate tile floors and chrome hardware. It was exactly what she wanted.
“Okay? So tell me!” she said back, turning off the water and wiping her hands. She opened a cabinet and started pulling out the other ingredients--flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. She turned to face me, her smiling face bright with expectation. I smiled back.
“We decided to try again,” I announced, biting my lip at the end. She furrowed her brow, her smiled slipped. She was worried, and I knew why. I stood up and took her hand, her soft hand. I couldn’t help but sigh.
“Are you sure?” she asked, staring at me. I dropped my eyes and she grabbed my chin, lifting my face back to hers. Making me confront her worry. And my own. I took a deep breath, looked into her eyes. I nodded. A tear fell.
“This time it’s going to be different,” I promised. She frowned. She didn’t believe me. I couldn’t blame her. I’d sworn it’d be different the last time too.
“I don’t want you tearing yourself apart for this. It’s so risky to--”
“This is the last time,” I said, but I knew it wasn’t reassuring. I’d said the last time was the last time. I sighed. She sighed. She wiped my tear. And turned back to the pancakes.
“Okay. Last time,” she said, getting a mixing bowl from the cabinet. I knew she was pretending to believe me and I couldn’t figure out if I appreciated or resented it. This time, it was going to be different. This time, I’d make her a grandmother. This time, I’d get a baby.