My dad cradles the dough in his giant hands. Flour scatters across the counter, covering the kitchen with the quiet of snow. As he folds, turns, and pushes the dough, I remember my own skin being pressed by his calloused fingers.
He tucks the bundle into a bowl covered with linen. The gentle clink of the steel bowl on the bricks of the hearth rings in my chest. Fire crackles the yeast into being. When the pale wheat begins to brown in the oven and warm waves of sweetness fill the air, the stale knot in my stomach begins to soften.
While we wait for the bread, he gets down on all fours. Sliding his knees along the red shag carpet, he becomes “the hey monster”, growling “heyyyy” over and over, as he lumbers along after me. When he catches me, I drop to the floor like a dead bug. All that tickling without a chance to breathe. I thought I liked it.
Two bodies combined, we fill our bellies with warmth. Those tiny bites of fresh bread with butter and honey will stay with me for decades. I would rather remember how he handled the dough instead of the way he pressed his hands on me. For years I’ve kneaded the truth, looking for the proof baked into my heart so that I could enjoy: bread, sex, anything.
Meli Walker is a creative nonfiction writer and arts worker. She was a student and assistant mentor at SFU’s the Writer’s Studio and published in the anthology “emerge 2019.” Currently she is making a podcast about writing grief. She is a settler in recovery living on unceded Coast Salish territories. Find her at meliwalker.com.