pas de deux or tripping the light fantastic


I tear in two the creased kale leaves and crush the garlic with the rusty side of my knife. My mother stands beside me and grates the soft and milky cheese. We gossip and introspect, feet splayed in first position.


The timer dings. We weave through the warm and foggy kitchen careful not to bump or shatter.  She swoops towards the oven and bows to check its heat. I pique turn to the silverware drawer. We cook. We dance.


It is something to feed your mother. She who fed me every night for eighteen years and then some sits down before a meal that I choreographed. How profound this feels. It is something simple to feed the one who has always fed you and yet so very large. It is something soul-filled to give sustenance to she who has always sustained.


History tells me that she is the prima ballerina on this sacrificial stage, a master in the art of nourishment. This evening, though, it is my turn to show her what I have rehearsed. I step forward on the off beat and begin my performance. I move such so that love and gratitude, noodles and salted cashews fly from my fingertips and land on her shoulders and tongue. She claps. I beam.


When I am done and take my curtsey, the comforting fact remains: She is my mother. I am her daughter. We are engaged in an eternal pas de deux. We will always eat and we will always twirl, together tripping the light fantastic.