~~~The scent of cinnamon and brown sugar sticks, slithers, slides up my nostrils like an entire childhood. I am lost. I have disappeared into the eighties: the carefree school days, the September moon days, the free-verse poetry days. I evaporate into punky pink carpet and Madonna covered walls.
I write in tablets, hundreds of tablets, page after page of tablets. I skip lines. I scribble. I do not fully understand my own feelings, my ponderings. I find Plath. I find Sexton. I find Jonathon Livingston Seagull.
They understand me.
My mother is a stay-at-home-mother, a goddess; a dream. She is baking ‘real’ cinnamon buns, not the kind from the package. I watch her every move: shifting from one foot to the other, apron strings swinging from side to side like Poe’s Pendulum. I observe her rolling and kneading dough and I imagine her strong hands rising and falling upon me, too.
She softens sweet butter to smear it over the swelling sweetness with those beautiful fingers; her wedding rings are still on, glittering like happy wives. She instructs me to grab handfuls of the sugar, cinnamon, pecans, nutmeg, and lots of love to massage over the creation. I do what she says.
I lay on my bunk bed reading, writing, carving boys´ names into the soft oak: Bruce, Gary, Chuck. I sob over all of them like I’ve never sobbed in my entire life. All sensations are heightened, colorful, wildly out of control. I write. I write so I don’t die. I write to breathe. I break wide open and write with my heart, my blood, my soul…until everything is released and ink is dripping on paper like ebony syllables.
Did I tell you my mother is a goddess?
She begins rolling the delectable dough into one long, lush, luxuriant piece of my youth. She rolls with the immaculate hands of a true artist: Childs, Pollock, Picasso.
O, the love is almost too much to hold inside. I go there often to get lost, to get tenderness, warmth, acceptance. I desire to hold the strings of my mother’s apron forever and ever, to smell the beautiful butter upon her fingertips, to kiss the cranberry of her Italian mouth.
What a lovely way to die….wrapped inside warm arms.
While buns bake, my mother plays Patsy Cline. Now, that’s a voice. My God, they don’t make ‘um like that anymore. She looks like my mother with that onyx black hair and deep shade of lipstick. I wonder if Patsy bakes buns with her children.
I wondered about things like that sometimes.
We sit at the kitchen table eating the cinnamon buns. My mother turns up Patsy’s “I Fall to Pieces” to maximize volume. She prances around the yellowed linoleum like Pavlova. She is pure magic.This is the reason we have memories, this is the reason we remember; to get lost—-to dissolve—-to gather up the heat for later use.
No matter how dim my life was in those days, as with any thirteen year old…I continually had apron strings to grasp onto, gooey buns to delight in, and the Poets to articulate my thoughts.
Mostly, I had a goddess, who danced in the kitchen to Patsy Cline. She danced on waxy yellowed linoleum.
And she loved me, loved me, and loved me.
Patsy singing “I Fall To Pieces”