Pancakes


Someone sitting looking at their naval and saying “I’m feeling worse today” should not necessarily expect sympathy or breakfast. But I got both. When I woke up this morning, I was lying naked under a kitchen table. The constellations I’d been watching spin on the underside of the table all night had settled into scuffs, pencil marks, little screws and a couple of pieces of gum. Gum, I thought to myself irritably. Looked like celestial beings last night.

Looking out from under the table, I saw the boy with the big green eyes lying looking at me. He also was naked.

Let me stop right here to say I was a penniless girl from Summut, Georgia who stepped on to the morning train in Spoon River two weeks ago without a plan. I just woke up in Portland, Oregon, naked in a stranger’s kitchen with an exceptionally pretty boy-man with an impressive good morning salute and that is not at all what I’d expected when I’d boarded that train so far away.

He looked at me and then up at the stove, where a woman whose name was originally Caroline was making pancakes and drinking mushroom tea.

“Want some?” she waved her cup down to me, lying on the floor thinking about morning and being naked so near to the boy whose name I’d suddenly remembered as Mika or Basha or something like that. The tea smelled like old feet and I had a sudden gaggy feeling and pushed the cup away. Mika/Basha rolled up into a half lotus and held his hands out to me. He pulled me up and we stood there, naked and swaying with the excesses of the time and place, and originally Caroline handed us a plate of pancakes, warm, with butter melted in a perfect spill from the middle outward.

“Time for a little morning air?” Basha/Mika said, with a nod toward the open kitchen door. We took our plate and stepped outside, where the morning was cool, drizzly, green with ferns, lichen growing on the deck, the stairs, the rocks. A small waterfall had been built of red and green rock from a natural spring not 20 feet from the back door. We sat there and ate the pancakes with our fingers. My eyes felt green too, like I’d started growing into the cool wet yard in the damp green state with the green eyed boy fading into the green-ness of Oregon, so far from Spoon River I could only barely hear my grandma’s voice, saying like she could see me through Dorothy’s glass “It’s a wonder you’re not ashamed to be seen like that!”  I hushed her, respectfully, and licked the plate clean.

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