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Blueberry pie
by Katerina Charisi
2015-10-18 11:42:46
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I don’t remember when I started to forget and I don’t know how many things I have forgotten. But I know that among faces and places I have also forgotten feelings. Life around me reminds me of it every day with all sorts of ways. But it’s not only my false memory’s fault; the world sometimes seems to have forgotten life itself.

The weather reminds me that winter is near; but the city is always flat - grey and motionless. The trees sometimes look fake. Always with a sick, brownish colour that doesn’t change anymore. Haven’t they noticed the fall? Where are the colours? What happened to the colours in this world? Where are the smells? Colourful maple leaves falling on the streets, apples, cinnamon, butter and sugar, pumpkins, walnuts, grilled chestnuts. Oh what has happened to the world? It’s all flat, solid and grey, cement, blinking traffic lights, busy people, neon sings, fast cars; all the same. Always the same and I might not remember faces or places but I do know that I have also forgotten feelings.

emilys01_400I have made darkness my friend. Darkness helps me, shut me in here easier, leaving life and the world outside. This way I forget how it feels not to remember. This way I don’t care that I don’t remember. Sometimes I just can’t seem to make it through all this. Sometimes my body protests against my enslaved mind. It feels numb, it cracks when I stretch it. When I stretch it, it somehow gets back to life, blood runs through my veins, my heart seems to beat harder and my feet kinda feel of an itch, they need to walk. My body needs to move. It needs to work. I can’t. This is where we belong now, my mind and my body. My mind feels safe, although sometimes it seeks for its freedom, but mind is easy to fool, mind can make up stories if anything else, can think, can play. Body cannot be fooled. I know it’s been left out and I know that now it’s leaving me too.

It seems that time is now my only enemy.

It’s late and I’ve been staring the lit windows of the house across the street for a while. I can see through the white thin curtains, a family sitting on a table. A smiling mother, a father laughing loud, throwing back his head, grabbing his belly. Children who constantly move on their chairs. Chatting, laughing, passing the bread around …enjoying each other’s presence. I can feel the warmth of their home. That feeling of safety, of belonging somewhere. The feeling of having someone who waits for you to come, or that mixed feeling of anxiety and excitement at the same time, to have everything ready - while waiting for your loved ones to return home. I can sense the feelings but I can’t feel them.

Since when nobody waits for me? When did I stop waiting for someone to come home? It seems to be too long, because I can’t remember how to feel anymore.

Angry I pull my curtains to shut that happy home out. I shut everything out. I get back to my world. I go to my bed, lift the blanket up to my head; I shut my eyes. I just don’t want to see or hear anything at all. I want to pause life. It’s not fair that I can’t do that.

But then, just every single time I surrender to my nothingness …she rushes in the room. Her presence is reflected in every soulless object around me. My existence fills with images, faces, places, scents, sounds and feelings.



I’m sitting on a large red velvet sofa that she always insists it’s not red- but Raspberry. I’m holding a mug of homemade tea with dry mandarins and the smell of something delicious blows my mind away. 

Emily comes in for a while, sits for a moment, says something, stands up again, goes to her kitchen, comes back, and that’s what’s happening for the last hour or so. She has a little pinch of flour on her cheek, wipes her hands on her clothes, she definitely doesn’t look like the kind of woman who will get lost in a kitchen preparing something as delicious as this thing that smells so great. Her moves have something airy, like she can just make things happen. “Hold on there, Jinny”, she says with her deep, mellow voice. Oh, it’s Jenny. But never mind. There’s no point mentioning it again. She insists calling me Jinny from the very first time we met and I know, Jinny is going to be forever.

emilys02_400“What’s the smell? It makes my stomach rumbling”, I ask her, but she is gone again. I try to forget it and look around; her living room and the view out of her large windows. I know I have been here many times, it feels it’s been years after years. I don’t know how that works but I always look at everything with the same interest and a bit of a doubt like the first time. It’s because everything that has to do with Emily …seems to come from another world.

There’s another “Raspberry” velvet sofa next to the one I sit. With a small, square, black pillow on it. A small, wooden table besides them, Emily has put large candles on it, pine cones, dry orange slices and cinnamon sticks, all nice and orderly placed on an orange tray. The fireplace on the other side; a soft, deep red flame and the wood creaking and popping while its moisture drips on the hot ashes. Her house smells and looks like winter.  Emily Winter. Funny…

Out of the large window I see a part of the white wooden porch. The bench with the patchwork pillow, the white round table and a basket full of pumpkins. The rest I can see is just a green field, white, purple and red cyclamens under the trees, mountains further in the horizon, all shape no colour. This place seems to be taken from somewhere else and placed here. If I hadn’t been here, if I hadn’t seen it, I wouldn’t believe that it existed. And so close to the big city. Who are you for real, Emily? Sometimes I believe I will never get to know you.

She enters the living room with a baking pan in her hands and immediately she puts it on the large dining table at the left.

“Be careful. It’s still hot”, she says and blows her fingers. She goes back to the kitchen and comes again with a large knife and cuts a large, yummy triangle piece and gives it to me on a fine porcelain dish.

She sits next to me, staring at me while I eat the last crumble of the delicious blueberry pie, and when I’m done she takes the dish and puts it back on the table.

She lights one of her long Moore menthol cigarette with the golden lighter. Now she’s got all serious with an enigmatic look at her face. I know that there is a question under that look and that the question will be a trick.

“I think it’s the most delicious thing I ever ate”, I answer to the question that she never did.

“How about one more…?”

Her eyebrow slightly lifts as she makes this last question and I’m not sure what I’m supposed to say. And she gives me another piece anyway. I ate it with the same pleasure as the first, but my stomach is full now.

“How about another one?”  

Is she trying to make me throw up? I can’t eat any more of it now. She brings another piece under my nose and I can already sense the other two pieces spinning in my stomach.

“You know Jinny, it took me years to learn how to make this blueberry pie so well. I always messed something up. The blueberries were too sour or too sweet, the butter was more than necessary; the sugar was too much, the baking time was wrong… Sometimes it was too soft, sometimes was too crunchy, hard.”

She looked out of her window and goes silent again. The third piece of the pie gets cold in her hands. I wait. I know she has something to say. I know her too well, while I know almost nothing about her. Every time that she starts like that, she has something to say that I need to listen.

“Even the right timing matters”. I don’t say a word, I don’t want to interrupt her thoughts. “If you make it too often, it doesn’t taste so well anymore. You get used to it. It bores you or tires you. Its taste is not a pleasant surprise, but a stale feeling of something too common.  If you don’t make it often, it makes you greedy, you eat all of it at once and then you feel sick. You probably don’t want to see it, never again”.

I remember the two big pieces I just ate and I silently agree. She turns her head and smiles to me.

“Somehow, in some weird way, that’s love”. She stands up and leaves the third piece back in the tray. “You know, everybody has a blueberry pie of love inside. When people meet love for the first time, they have all the ingredients in front of them and start experimenting with the recipe. The first relationships of our life, are the first blueberry pies we make. The ones that become too sweet, too bitter, too soft or too dry. Too juicy, maybe a little burned. Or not baked enough. But that’s how we learn.”

Her eyes shined and smiled again with this way that I can’t tell what she really has in her mind. I know her mind travels in thoughts that she has never shared with me yet. I’m not sure if she will ever do. I can only wish.

“And then…” she snaps her long pale fingers with the perfectly deep violet fingernails, “we have the perfect recipe. Maybe not so perfect for everybody, but it IS perfect for someone and that’s all that matters. Then we start cutting pieces and share.”

I nod, without talking. She is damn right. In a crazy way, with an even crazier story, she is right.

“But we have to be careful. Too much, is no good. Less than necessary, is no good. And sharing, love; Sharing is the most important thing. You have to carefully cut your pie into all equal pieces. Because if you don’t, then somebody will be left with …the smallest piece.”

Love in some way, is like making a blueberry pie. Even something such delicious as this, has to be equally shared and made in its time.

I realized that I knew exactly the meaning of her words. When I became mother for a second time, I panicked. I felt that I had given all the love I was able to share to my first child and that I wouldn’t have any left for the second.  Of course I had all of my love. Love was always there. I just had to learn how to share it.

I open my eyes and she is not there. If she really was here. But now she is gone. A sweet and sour taste in my mouth and I can hear somewhere in distance a fireplace burning. I sit on my bed trying to squeeze all these familiar things in my mind quickly, before they fade away. Then I notice something on the small table beside the bed. It’s a black and white instant photo.

A man.

What are you trying to tell me, Emily?


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Leah Sellers2015-10-19 02:58:14
I really enjoyed savoring this slice of your Homemade Blueberry Pie, Ms. Charisi. Thank you !

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