My mother looks over and smiles. More than just teaching me how to sauté onions, she has taught me her sense of humor. I turn my head to look her full in the face and laugh. She looks beautiful in her sweatshirt with the sleeves pushed up, her hair in a sensible ponytail.
She teaches me the lessons she has accumulated in her life here, in front of the stove, with the light under the hood sticking in the wrinkles growing out from her eyes. She has veins of gold in her face when she smiles. I think she is more beautiful to me like this. I still have dreams of my mother to this day - we have not seen her in five years.
I see her face, gilt gliding across the lines as she tracks me down in my sleep and reviews what she taught me. Eugene Tarnow believed that dreams were ever-present stimulations of long-term memory. During waking life, an executive cognitive function interprets these stimulations and sorts them as memory. My mother is standing there at the stove, illuminated with the light over the range, under the hood.
“Mom, what the hell are you doing in my house?” I say, padding into the kitchen from my dark bedroom. “Fixing dinner, what does it look like, smartass.”
She looks like she’s swimming in the soft, yellow, light that catches her hair - the sides swept back to keep them out of the way.
“Are you actually here?”
“Does it matter? It smells like you burned dinner.”
“I guess . . . I don’t know. I just.”
“It took me forever to find where you live.”
I walk over to a suitcase on the table.
“What . . . Mom. What is this?”
“You’re gonna come cook with me”
Inside is a wooden spoon and the pan I burned onions in earlier - the silver surface stained the deepest back where the onions carbonized.
“Come on, let’s go.” She says, leaving to pool of light to walk towards the front door.
“You should put on some clothes, and start sleeping in pajamas.” She adds, turning around to look back at me, one hand on the doorknob.
“Oh, right,” I laugh quietly and creep back into the bedroom.
“Hurry up!” She shouts from the living room, and I hear her walk back into the kitchen.
I hear the hollow click of the range light as I push my feet into moccasins and head back to the kitchen.
“Ah, dreaming,” I say, walking out onto the dark linoleum
I turn the range light on and smudge a line through the grease splatters on the stove. I turn the light off with my greasy finger and walk back to my room, tracing a line down the wall - I crawl into bed and fall asleep with my shoes still on. My mother looks over and smiles.