April 04, 2014: From Memory

The sharp, barely audible breath I took in helped me swallow something, but what was it? It’s lost in me for now. I washed my face, brushed my teeth, and made two calls I needed to make before I called my mom. The e-mail she sent was not a fluke, but I needed to check in with her and hear her say my granddad was dead before I could do anything more.

Once I got off the phone, I began to make 2-dozen cookies. I measured slowly with what may have been varying degrees of success. I love the way ingredients smell as they combine and bake so much more than I love anything I bake that I give all the end results away. The relief is so immediate and merciful when I hand them all out and I know I will never have to see them again.

When the batter was done, I wondered at that and began scooping tiny spherical mounds out of the mixing bowl and onto a cookie sheet. I love the feel of cookie dough. How it’s viscous and gritty and studded with chocolate chips. There is nothing in my life so calming as the act of baking.

Before the first tray of cookies was ready to come out of the oven, I had moved somewhere across the street of where I was an hour ago. I was now firmly in a post-Granddad state. And I was there with day one of the cramp-portion of the month.

Since then I’ve been thinking about a lot of things—which is cliché, but I’m going with it. I’ve been remembering him, but I haven’t worked hard enough at remembering the things I know I will want to remember. As a consequence, I think everything might be just a little hazy. And, as much as I want this to be the stirring tribute my granddad deserved, I want to keep all those things private right now. I’m trying to keep them all inside me because it has become so obvious that I have a pitiful memory, and this is a person I don’t want to forget.

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