In a moment of desperation yesterday, I made crepes. I’m not sure how to write about violence against women, and about it happening directly above where I sleep, last week, in the middle of the night, but I can write about crepes.
I can write about coming back into our apartment after a little walk, about the sadness and ache and belly emptiness so vast that all I could know to do was to make. something.
I can write about having to leave my boots on. How usually, when I walk in the door, after my coat, shoes and bra are the things that immediately need to go. Then jewelry. But I couldn’t take any of it off for some reason. I needed to feel solid, supported, dressed for something. I listened for noise upstairs. Is he around? Did she come back? Everything stayed on.
I can write about taking down the apron my mom gave me for Christmas a few years back, into which she needlepointed a Chianti bottle and a glass of wine. Red and green on the white apron, made of a thick satisfying, cream colored cotton, one you could wipe your hands on. Two big deep pockets in the front. Another layer, tied at the back of my waist. Suited.
I can write about pulling out the recipe card, in my mother’s handwriting, via my aunt’s recipe. Mothers and daughters and aunts and sisters. Making things. I don’t know much about her upstairs, but I know she makes art, and I know he smashed it apart. I heard it. The smashing. Where does this hatred of women who make things come from? This violation of goddess bodies. This deep anger in men. Rage without boundaries. Disrespect, destruction. I have to make something. What else can I do?
I can write about following the recipe and making the batter. Eggs, flour, salt. Warm the milk. Whisk it. Spoon some into the pan. A little more. Swirl it around. Sand colored circles appearing. Wait. Watch for bubbles. Flip it. When it’s done, put the first one on a red plate. A slice of butter, melting on top. Spread it around. Sprinkle with salt. Eat the moon while the next one rises in the pan. Fill the void with something simple, something my body can understand. Is it helping? I don’t know.
I can write about the circles multiplying. The reassurance of round. Of breasts and hips and bellies. The softness and nourishment. Not asking for a fight. Not asking for IT. Not asking for anything, in fact. Just being. Can’t we all just be and be kindly? My desire for innocence makes me ashamed. I should know better after forty-two years in this world. After being violated myself, years ago. After every new conversation with a female friend who says, yes, me too. This world. This shitty world. But I still want to cradle it. This world that I love anyway. Make a crepe big enough to wrap and feed everyone, to soften the rage. And that’s not the innocent in me. It’s the mother. The maternal, although I don’t have children, won’t bear children, I still have that. I know that. I feel that. I get out the chocolate, and put some on a crepe just out of the pan. To sweeten, to melt. I add strawberry jam. Will it be enough? I roll it up and take a bite while the next moon rises.
I can write about this one that has a silhouette. I can find a deity in there if I look hard enough. A head and shoulders, a veil and gown. I wouldn’t be the first to have an apparition in a baked good. I stare for a long while. Looking for hope. Still hungry. Wanting a crone of protection to rise from a skillet. The crepe goddess, who feels safe enough to walk barefoot and braless. Dusted with flour and salt. Savory and sweet. That sounds dreamy. And a lot like bullshit. Where is that safe place?
I’m sad and I ache, but I’m angry too. I know how to cook and make through my feelings. Would it be that hard for a man to do the same instead of throwing furniture and terror and strangling a neck, stealing a life force? How is the world so fucked up that so many men’s hearts are so bound with chains and duct tape that violence and rage are the recourse? That first a boy learns to beat his own heart down and then as a man so disabled, when he sees an unrestricted beating heart before him, he can’t distinguish between what he longs for and what he hates? What is this mess?
I can write about a counter full of moons and an empty bowl. I look for evidence that something is different. I still feel cavernous inside. Anxiety echoes off of the walls of me. Despite the urge to hold my breath, I let it go. I’m not better. Better is a stretch. My boots are still on. But I did make something. And it will feed me. It will feed the man I love and live with, if not the whole world. And I will let my tears salt our plates, and they will feed us too.
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