by Sara Petersen
I’m sorry I made the bread pudding, placing it to cool in the middle of the kitchen table, its crust of burnt sweetness permeating the house, invading the guest bedroom where you lay. Last night after dinner, when I buttered the pan (my pan) and began ripping up the bread, you told me with a sad shake of your head that bread pudding wasn’t right. I said it was no trouble. You insisted. You told me I didn’t know how to make the bread pudding you and your son wanted. You pointed at the loaf on the counter. It’s not even stale, you said with the gentlest of mournful smiles. Your son (my husband) didn’t say anything. I stared at his sloped back as he scrubbed dishes – hard.
So I’m sorry that I did it anyway, waking up this morning in the chilly darkness of 5AM, beating the eggs apart with a fork, chunking the bread, dashing the cinnamon. I’m sorry I smiled at my mirrored reflection in the window above the sink, I’m sorry my heart was beating fast and hot with ugly joy, and I’m sorry I bit my tongue to stifle a hiss of laughter as I popped the small, single-serving ramekin into the oven (my oven). I’m sorry the first thing you saw when you opened the guest bedroom door this morning was my small son (not yours) licking the maple syrup from his fork, and asking me if there was any more bread pudding.
Sara Petersen‘s writing has appeared or is forthcoming from The Rumpus, Catapult, Brain, Child, Entropy, Bust, Neutrons Protons, and elsewhere. She lives on the seacoast in New Hampshire, where she’s working on a book of essays about coming to terms with the life she always wanted. You can follow her on Twitter @slouisepetersen.