My Grandma’s Kitchen

Photo by Anasthasia Shilov

A thick crack extends from one end of the room to the other, stretching across the pattern of green diamonds on the vinyl tiles of my grandma’s kitchen floor. There is no door in her kitchen, just a large doorframe leading into the hallway where she keeps her gas stove, propane tanks, and crates of potatoes. Above the kitchen sink, a large window looks out onto the roof where my cousins and I sit and play Uno in the afternoons. When we were younger, my grandma used to give us honeycombs from her sister’s honeybee farm and we would sit on the roof and suck them, watching the tiny trucks move down the curved paths on the mountains. My grandma’s sister died four years ago and so my grandma no longer gives us honeycombs. Instead, she tells us to fry ourselves a plate of potatoes.

In the evenings we play volleyball in her front yard, slapping my cousin’s worn soccer ball back and forth over the clothesline until we hit the ball too hard and it lands on the roof, and one of us has to climb through the kitchen window to retrieve it. My grandma shouts from the window, telling us to be careful of her wet clothes. We know she doesn’t really mind.

The kitchen is littered with pictures of us—in the glass cabinet with her mugs and medications, on the refrigerator door alongside her wedding photos, across the tablecloth spread beneath her landline phone. Most of the pictures are from when we were younger—pictures of our baptisms and first birthdays and elementary school graduations. I figure my mother and her siblings sent less pictures as we got older. Or maybe my grandma just ran out of space, too tired to look for new places to squeeze us in.

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