"I'm sorry, what?"
"You want me to throw those on the grill, too?"
My husband, his hands full of grillbound chicken, uses his chin to motion toward the potatoes I'm scrubbing.
"Oh. These. No. I'll roast them in the oven."
"You sure?" He and his chicken are waiting for me.
"I'm sure. I want to roast them. But thank you."
As I scrub the potatoes, I watch him through the kitchen window as he loads the grill with chicken. I love grilled potatoes, but tonight I want oven-roasted, the kind made with Lipton Onion Soup, the kind my mother used to make when I was little and finicky.
Christmas night finds me standing at the kitchen sink, potatoes clean but the water still running needlessly as I think about my mother. How she taught me to scrub potatoes. To iron a man's handkerchief. To make a wish on a star. And then, like a physical blow, how this December 29th marks five years she's been gone.
Five years. I cannot believe it's been that long, because it is still such a source of sorrow for me. And shock - I am still in disbelief that she is gone, if we're being completely honest. Well, hell, I'll just say it: I secretly nurture a small and completely irrational hope that one day she will pop up and say, "Well, that was dull. I'm back."
I realistically know this won't happen. I really, really do. But I still waste my first star wish on it every time.