As petals fall on asphalt roads di Aimee Parkison

Sometimes there’s food on the plate, but no one wants to eat it. No one wants to eat it, but when everyone is hungry, it’s gone. It’s gone, and there’s music playing, piano music in the parlor where everyone’s stomach is rumbling, as if talking wordlessly, complaining about the food that is gone. Complaining about the food that is gone, we stare out the windows at the rain battering the rose of Sharon as petals fall on asphalt roads. As petals fall on asphalt roads, the rain pours harder, the piano music stops, and I remember when I was a child, wondering why my mother never ate at the table, why she only ate alone when everyone else was finished and only if there was food left on the plates, though there often wasn’t. Though there often wasn’t, I didn’t realize why she wasn’t eating since because of her artful misdirection I never understood food was in scarce supply in my childhood. Food was in scarce supply in my childhood, but dreams were not on mornings when I woke, remembering the vivid pastel bakery and all the wonderful cakes I had eaten, bright cakes displayed under glass like valuable jeweled sculptures, unlike any cake I had ever seen. Unlike any cake I had ever seen, these dream cakes nourished me when I slept, not realizing I was hungry because of how delicious it was. How delicious it was, even though it wasn’t real and would make real food seem undesirable in comparison, as the dream baker in the child’s mind could prepare the unconscious food to feed unrecognized hunger. Unrecognized hunger waited like a friend with the dream baker and the dream cakes as my mother entered the bakery as if nothing was wrong with the fact that I was nude and eating all the cakes. Nude and eating all the cakes, I was never so happy until she asked why I had saved none for her.

Special thanks to the literary magazine «The Adroit Journal» for permission to translate and publish this tale.