It's a cold and rainy day, so dark that I should turn on some lights inside the house. (I don't.) The sky is gray and thick like boiled wool, like I should be able to reach out and sink my fingers into its tangled fibers. It cocoons us but I don't feel warmer for it.
Oatmeal, I think. I gather ingredients.
I eat a lot of Sunday morning oatmeal, but it's almost never a weekday meal. On Sunday mornings, when the whole family wakes up slowly and lingers in pajamas, the lovely husband will brew a pot of coffee, spread bagels for the girls, and make large bowls of oatmeal for him and me. He reads the paper and I read the paper's magazine and E grabs the comics and L runs over excitedly, abandoning her bagel every time with Mommy! Daddy! I want some bango-bango! It's a strange mispronunciation quirk: that's what she calls oatmeal.
I wash and dice a crunchy Fuji apple. I add it to two fists of oats. A generous pat of butter. A little salt. Three circles of poured squeezy goodness from the gallon of local honey I bought at the co-op last summer. It's almost empty. My favorite cinnamon. Apple juice for the cooking liquid.
She used to climb up on my lap, or her Daddy's. Feed me! she'd implore one of us, and we'd share our breakfast with her. Now she'll climb on the chair next to us. I want bango-bango in MY OWN BOWL! she'll usually yell. We'll bring her a small bowl and ladle some food from one of our bowls into hers. She'll run to the drawer and select a few spoons for herself. And then there will be three of us eating Sunday morning oatmeal.
My food is warm. I'm ready to eat, but I hesitate. I feel a little like I'm cheating on her. I miss my bango-bango girl.