I followed the smell all the way through the house, swung open the kitchen door and looked around. There it is. I knew it, I knew it, I knew it! There in the oven, lit up like a row of seats in a movie theater are mom’s homemade chocolate chip cookies. Oh the smell is so beautiful all I can do is stand there with my eyes closed, breathing in the savory aroma. Mmmm. I open my eyes and immediately I find the mixing bowl in the sink, still fresh with cookie batter lining the edges. Yes! I turn on my worn down white sneakers and without tripping on my untied shoelace I make my way to the sink. As I snatch the bowl and wooden spoon from where it sits I prop myself onto the counter adjacent. I sit there cross-legged on the counter, scooping, dipping, licking. Mmmm. The batter is the best part. I look down and see my shoe has left a streak of dirt on the shiny white counter-top. Uh oh. I quickly scrape the remaining batter from the bowl and toss it back in the sink. I jump up and rinse my hands, but it makes me thirsty so I dip my head down and take a swig straight from the faucet. Everything looks so clean and I remember the streak of dirt. I grab the rag I usually use to wash my hands and swiftly wash away that little imposing line of muck. Done. I toss the rag over my shoulder and back into the sink. When are the cookies going to be ready? I have never been good at being patient. Mom always says, “be patient Davy, things will come to those who wait”. She always says that, but I don’t understand. How will the cookies come to me if I don’t go get them? They can’t walk! She’s stupid. I look around for something to do since the cookies are still baking. You know what would go great with a stack of mom’s cookies, I think to myself, milk. Yes, a cool glass of milk. I think Willis just dropped a bottle off this morning! I skip over to the fridge, sitting there so omnipresent in our little kitchen. I yank the big white door open and immediately find the big glass bottle of happiness. I love milk so much! I wiggle it out of its spot on the door and just as it pops free my hand slips. Time slows down like slow motion, but I can’t move. I watch as the glass bottle dives head first into the shiny white tiles on the floor, breaking into an avalanche of milk and glass. I just stand here; mom is out back hanging our clothes up on the line and dad well he hasn’t been here since the war started. Nobody came to see if I was ok… Slowly I start to move. I tiptoe around the growing mess while brushing the milk off my jeans. Moms going to kill me! She’s going to take my new Etcha-Sketch and send me to my room and then she’s going to kill me. Quickly I move and grab the trashcan from near the sink and scoot it over to the spill. I scoop up the glass as fast as I can without getting cut. After I’ve gotten all the biggest chunks of glass out of the way I go back for the old rag. He’s been through so much I bet. I wipe up the milk swiftly with both hands on the rag, but it doesn’t quite do the trick. There is too much milk everywhere. Ugh. I get up; knees soaked, and throw the towel in the sink. Oh no. I look down and see that my right pointer finger is bleeding. I think a piece of the glass cut me. Oh I don’t like that, not one bit. I feel my throat getting dry and now it’s hard to focus on my finger. The tears fall, but I don’t make a sound. Dad doesn’t like it when I cry. Crying is for girls. Just then the kitchen door swings open. Mom… She stares at me, digesting the scene in front of her. Her eyes dart over to find the spilled milk and then stare back at me.
“Davy, honey, are you okay? You’re finger!”
Then the tears really start flowing.
“I’m sorry mom I- I wanted some milk to drink with mah-my cookies and” I break of and my breathing becomes so convulsive I can’t speak. This always happens.
“Shh sh sh” mom says as she crosses to me. Her touch sends me down and I sob so loud snot runs out of my nose. I can’t stop crying. Her arms tighten around me and I let my breathing return to a normal pace. I love when she holds me like this. She smells like roses and cookies. Oh yeah the cookies.
“Mom, I’m sorry I just wanted some milk with the cookies is all.”
“It’s okay baby, don’t worry, it was an accident.” She says as she unfolds me from her. She uses her hand to wipe away my tears as I wipe my snot on my shoulder. She gets up and goes to the pantry. Before I know it she is unwrapping a band-aid in her hand and promptly sticks it around my pointer finger. It already feels a lot better. She then grabs the mop from the closet by the back door to outside and briefly wipes the spill until Mr. Mop soaks it all up. I stand there leaning by the sink, watching her work so purposefully. She always knows what to do and she wasn’t even mad. I love her. Whoa the smell! The cookies. They’re done I know it!
“Mom, Mom I think the cookies are done now, Mom!” Yes! I’m so excited mmm I can already taste them! Mom leans the mop against the wall, the floor is clean again and she heads straight for the oven. Pulling on her big blue starry night themed oven mitts she opens the door and pulls out the cookies. I’m already by her side when she places them on the cooling rack.
“Stay back Davy you don’t want to get burned”
“They smell so good mom!”
“I know, but you’ll have to wait a few minutes. They’re still really hot.”
“Okay” I say, but I am not really listening. They look so good. I want one now! The five minutes go by so slow. I count to ten and then back down to one a lot. I also think about my dad. I wish he were here. He loves mom’s cookies almost as much as me! I love everything that my dad loves I think. Mom is over by the sink washing our dishes. She looks so peaceful as she stares out the window at the birds in the fountain. Bob and Matilda. That’s what we named the two robins. They always come to our yard for a bit in the afternoon. I wonder if mom misses dad as much as me. I hope Bob never leaves Matilda. Maybe Bob and Matilda have a little baby that they love and feed in their nest somewhere. All of a sudden mom crosses to me. She takes a plate from the pantry and starts to scoop up the cookies onto the plate one by one with the big spatula. Before she has even finished stacking the cookies on the plate I run around her and grab two from the pile. They’re so warm! I let my mouth take charge and as my teeth meet the doughy center I lean my head back and smile. Mom sets a glass of milk and the rest of the cookies at our little table in the corner. I finish the fist cookie and sit down all in one motion. Still holding the other cookie in one chocolate covered hand, I reach for the milk with other and take a big gulp. Nothing matters now, just the cookies, my milk and the smile that always finds me when I’m enjoying my most favorite food.