I stood at the sink holding a dead chicken. Not an actual chicken. I mean, yes, it was an actual dead chicken, but not a ‘hey mom, hold this, why do you think it died?’ type of chicken (we live in the suburbs; chickens do not die of natural causes here). It was the raw, defeathered, roasting variety of dead chicken. The oven was hot at 450 degrees and tiny potatoes, peeled carrots, and sweet onions laid waiting on the bottom of my oft-used cast iron skillet, and I was holding my dead chicken at the very moment when a thought, in the form of my 17-year-old self, sauntered past my backside.
She brushed against my shoulder and made her way, slowly, deliberately, toward the kitchen table. She turned to me abruptly, gave a side-eye to the pile of shoes by the door, and then flicked a bright red manicured pointer finger through the small bowl of almonds sitting on the table. She’s both me at 17 and the me I thought I’d be (or at least one of the many possibilities of who I’d turn into when I grew up). When she found the very nut she was looking for, pinched it between her thumb and first finger and popped it into her mouth, she said, “Can you believe you know how to cook that chicken?”
I laughed at her. Because I really do know how to cook this dead chicken.
She turned on her heels (leopard print, kitten) and swayed into the living room, presumably to read a book (in French) and re-apply her lipstick, red, and wait there until she’d greet my husband when he got home from work.
My 17-year-old self loves to show up at times like this—when I haven’t showered and I’m in the oldest pants I own, in the middle of doing the most domestic of tasks. I smiled though, because she’s a friend—even if she gets saucy sometimes.
… to read the rest of this essay on Coffee+Crumbs, about the ages we stay in our minds even as we get older, about responsibility and adulthood and turning 40 and all that good stuff, please click here.
As always, thank you for reading!