This Toast Is For You
My father wakes at 6:30 in the morning and, with puffy
eyes, promptly plugs in the coffee pot and makes two pieces of toast. Even though he eats alone, he gets out plates, knives
and cups for himself, my mother and me.
When the toast and coffee are done, he sits down at the breakfast table and butters his toast. Crumbs scatter over
As my father leaves for work at 7:00, my mother wakes and walks to the kitchen. I can hear her slippers dragging on the cold, tile floor.
While she drops two pieces of moist bread into the toaster,
my father kisses her on the cheek as he walks out the door.
A few minutes later, she pours herself a cup of coffee,
picks up her toast and sits down at the table. With nobody to
talk to and nothing to look at, except the toast crumbs left by
my father, she turns on the radio that is on the table. Her
toast is too dark so she scrapes the toast, leaving more crumbs for the collection.
When my mother is finished eating, I wake and go to the kitchen. About the time my single piece of toast is done, my mother runs out the door to catch the bus for work.
The strawberry jam has been sitting out on the table for
almost two hours now. Empty cups with just a drop of coffee
left in the bottom wait to be removed from the table.
I finally sit down to the breakfast table around 8 and
all I find to greet me are some toast crumbs scattered on the table, on the placemats, on the radio, in my cup, in the straw¬berry jam, and on the stick of margarine.
This is a regular morning routine for my family. It has
been a ritual for at least ten years. So why do I notice the
crumbs today and not any other day previously?
I need someone to listen to me, but I am surrounded by crumbs. I try to speak, but my voice is muffled by the toast.