Wednesday, 2 April 2008

once upons? toast

It doesn't start with bread. it begins with knees that need to be unfolded slowly and painfully, and get me downstairs, all 62 kilos of me.

I use the bannisters and the wall to support some of the weight, and lighten the load for those knees. I walk downstairs like an old woman, but I am not yet 40.

The bread is always fresh, that's nice. The toaster switch needs to be flicked on. Sometimes I forget, and then I stand at the breakfast bar for ages in a semi-trance before realising that there is no orange glow from the toaster slots.

The butter is usually soft, which helps. Hard frozen butter is difficult to spread and tends to break the toast.

My mother is responsbile for the freshness of the bread and the ease of the butter. We use a whole loaf every day: three slices for my mother, three (sometimes four) for me, one for my father. Occasionally a few slices go towards dinner when there's nothing else to eat. The rest is for the maid, the old lady who sweeps the garden, the gardener, and anybody else who might need a meal.

My mother gets up early and unlocks the house. She brings in the milk and boils it. She makes tea. She draws the curtains. by the time my knees start their painful way downstairs, the house is bright and the tea is ready and the butter is soft. Her knees hurt worse than mine.

I don't appreciate all this. I focus on the honeyed flavour of toast butter and jam melting in my mouth. It's something I look forward to every day. Breakfast with Cheers on Star World. Nothing like a good laugh to sta rt the day. And then a second helping of tea to wash down the daily medication, and to warm me up for Oprah.

Somewhere in the background my mother sits, reading badly printed, boringly written and very preachy Islamic magazines. She tries to read paragraphs out to me. She thinks they are beautiful because she sees byond the pedantic sermonising and the lack of editorial quality: she gets the essense, she can relate to the healrt of a well-meaning person with a pen in their hand.

Apparently I don't. I must be quite shallow, and I t hink too much of myself. One day she won't be sitting there in the background any more. There won;t be any flowery sermons and I'll have to make m y own tea. I'll have my toast and jam and I'll have a comedy on TV so that I can start my day with a laugh. My knees will be worse. And the butter will be hard.

this needs reworking but could be a nice piece.

10 15 am 22 sept 2003

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