Tonight I broke the ends off of a bouquet of asparagus with my bare hands.

I felt proud. One less knife to clean.

My Polish/ Italian grandmother would be especially proud. She’s 83 and gambles at casinos, plays poker in her sleep and cooks saucy, robust meals with her bare hands everyday. She cooks the same way she plays her cards – she goes all in for the win or doesn’t go in at all. I’ve seen this woman crush hot peppers with her fingers and steal every penny from a teenage boy who challenged her in a round of Rummy. My grandma does not play.

I read it as a sign from God when Beach House’s ’10 Mile Stereo’ was the first song Pandora chose to play while I cooked dinner tonight. It’s eerie and enchanting. Like the starry night skies of the Los Angeles hills.

Beach House’s music makes me feel my youth… the youth in me that won’t ever age. The youth that will always be there.

Not a bad thing for a Tuesday night.

I made two little sandwiches on Artisan rolls with Provolone cheese, bruschetta, tomato, onion, and olive oil.

I broiled them for about five minutes. Then I took a picture, plated them, and promptly enjoyed.

I ate two of them. And asparagus and sweet potato fries. I went all in for the win.

I wish my poker playing grandma could have eaten at the table with me. Sometimes a girl just needs to eat dinner with her grandma. Just grandma, nobody else. Because grandmas like to see their granddaughters eat. Grandmas also scowl at preposterous things like margarine and Splenda. They eat the real stuff.

My dinner was quiet and delicious. With a candle.

.

I swear I’m not saying this because I’m Italian. But there is a certain seduction I feel when biting into a slice of sweet cherry tomato that’s been baked between gooey white cheese and artisan bread. Seduction might be putting in lightly. Hold my hand while I say thank you to Jesus for cheese and tomatoes.

Amen.

After dinner I went outside and sat on the porch wrapped beneath a thick blanket.

You know I have a thing for blankets by now, right?

Then I saw a shooting star. It was sparkly and sleek and flickered its glittery tail for about one full second before it vanished back into the sky.

I put my hand to my chest and sighed.

Sometimes I miss the real-time moments of life because I’m thinking about what’s next on the agenda or what I would rather be doing. I challenged this tonight as I began to feel anxious and bored. I asked myself these questions…

1) Who are you and what are you doing right now?

“I’m Jamie. I’m making a savory dinner for myself while listening to Beach House and thinking about my gambling grandmother. I broke off asparagus ends with my bare hands. After dinner I bundled up on the porch and saw a shooting star in the night sky.”

2) How do you feel about that?

“Pretty damn good.”

Maybe I didn’t have grandma at the dinner table with me tonight. But after answering these questions I was perfectly content in the real- time moment of a savory Tuesday night.

And that’s a youth I’ll always have.

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