The Insides of My Bed and Other Confessions

Dear Tasha,

This

 

is what my floor looks like this morning, an improvement, because it’s down there and not up on my bed. Remember the other morning when I woke up in bed, covered in hangers with my passport in my hand, underneath the covers? Or the time I came to school, alive, after nearly being choked to death by an extension cord in bed? This winter it was with a scarf I fell asleep wearing that I nearly met my death. They should probably issue choking hazard warnings to people the likes of me, and Lena Dunham.

 

This illustration made me feel better.

This morning, I have several confessions to make:

1. I love the sound my roommate makes when she wakes up across the house, my Peruvian little sister who makes her requisite morning mews–something between a sigh, a stretch, and the sound a cat would make–that have become inexplicably endearing. She temporarily replaces but will never be a replacement for my real little sister, who I can always make laugh with dry humor and scathing criticism she knows is just for show, who always stares jealously at my lips, who has taken to carrying a folded up page she ripped from a magazine around the house with the mouth of a Prada model on it that she hopes to someday have, who gives me hand-me-downs of her expensive boutique shirts when I guilt her into it–an art form I’m working on perfecting–who wraps up “re-gifts” for me every single Christmas because she considers herself poor even though she’s not, who I know truly loves me when I find a tiny unopened package of something bought from a real store in the pile, who I miss every single day because she is an entire deep blue ocean away.

2. I always load the dishwasher incorrectly. I get some perverse pleasure out of it, slapping the silverware in–-we have the new weird Bosch lay-flat drawer up top that I never knew how to load until my father, who I inspired to buy a better Bosch, showed me–-forks facing spoons, spoons belly up so they fill with milky soap water and have to be rewashed, knives, too, blades ripe and ready to cut us when we take them out. At home, in Florida, my father takes particular offense, yelling at me not to do the dishes, to “just leave them!”, sighing when I bang and slap and cajole the whole half-washed mess into the dishwasher, because it means he’ll have to unload the whole thing and start again. We’re the kind of family that fills the sink with soapy water, soaks the dishes overnight and then washes them with a sponge so that the dishwasher never gets dirty. It makes me cry inside. My sister has become a militant dish loader as well and life in her kitchen is as oppressive to my creative dishwashing genius as any place could be. I am jealous of my father’s dishwasher, with its flat, button-free brushed chrome metallic front and its tiny, alien-like red light that casts its ultra-muted glow upon the floor, the only indication that it’s running, because it’s so very silent. I’m sure my father is happy I don’t have one because I would ruin its insides and make it smell. 

3. The only thing I want to do while I’m supposed to be: writing an article, writing a book, writing a food blog, writing a screenplay–shhh, that one’s secret–doing my Catalan homework, out on a Friday night, is writing you a letter, my dear sweet Tasha. It’s building into an obsession.

4. I used to never want to write a blog, used to hate the very idea of it, but in my secret heart of hearts I must have liked the idea of casting my ideas out into a virtual space, when I started a blog I named Antiblog in a fit of denial that I made mostly sure no one would ever find, when I started a food blog–an idea I detest and a thing I love doing, when the light is right and the mood strikes me–when I write these letters to you. Maybe I like the semi-privacy of it, the idea that someone could but mostly could not be reading them. I think it helps that we have only 18 followers and one of them is me.

That’s four, probably enough to be considered to be several and definitely enough for one morning. I’m shouting the instructions for making American-style pancakes to my roommate across the house, and I feel guilty about leaving her alone in there, wondering what is a tablespoon and exactly how many times to turn the whisk. She appeared a moment ago at my door with a cup of flour held up so I could see it, a small strainer in hand she plans to use to sift with.

 

She's cute because she’s putting up with my shouts of “bear with“, Miranda-style, from my bedroom hovel and my desire for fluffy pancakes, the ones I stole from Jamie Oliver (hold the pear)–-rather than the eggy ones she normally makes and wraps around a banana-–the way my dad used to make them for me, back when he used to sneak crispy strips of bacon in them like I liked, back when it was never an option for me to do the dishes.

Miss you moltissim a aquest matí,

m.

Recipe for Peruvian-Style American Pancakes

(as recited to me by an Arequipenian as she investigates my copper measuring cups to figure out the medidas)

  • 1 egg
  • a pinch of milk (ponle un poquito de leche, how do you say that?)

(“I think the butter is boiling,” she says, in English, pointing to the silver dollar test pancake I’ve left on the stove, unattended.)

  • una cuchara de harina

Whisk the egg hasta que la harina esté bien mezclado y no queden grumos. Put tiny little drops of oil on the pan. You wait until the aceite se caliente y lo esparces por todo el sartén para que quede parejo y luego, you put the pancake mix into the pan y a fuego lento, lo cocinasPones una tapa en el sartén, espere uno o dos minutos, sacas la tapa, lo volteas y ya está.

Remove–(“I think the new pancake is burning”)–and wrap around a peeled banana. Cover in “bee honey,” as she calls it, que las abejas han comido de florcitas, la blanca no la dark”, Nutella, or (in a real American’s opinion) peanut butter, and eat.

p.s.  a conversation, extracted

“More butter,” I mumble between key taps.

“You love butter.” she responds.

“Mm-hmm,” I murmur.

“I don’t like a lot of butter, because it shows on my face.”

We laugh and she goes back to singing otra panquetito into the pan, as I sign off this letter.

 

“Amarillo gives you luck.” A Peruvian kabala

Melissa Leighty