It kinda tasted like…
But she was allergic, it couldn't have been that.
I stared at the table, wishing it would magically show me the recipe. Stupid reality. Sometimes it would be better to be in a book.
Unlike most grandmothers, my grandmother was a terrible cook. One time, she tried to make toast and set her kitchen on fire.
She was that bad.
But she always did have a way to make things right.
It’s not like her cookie was that good, it was pretty nasty in fact, but the memories are what made it special. I just…
Then there was Uncle Howard.
What sort of name was Howard? It sticks to the roof of your mouth like spoiled peanut butter. I hated him and his stupid big, clunky teeth. His white convertible was atrocious, but he refused to buy something even slightly better for the environment.
He was the one who lost the recipe.
Now, because of Howard, I am standing in the kitchen, banging my head on the tip of a spoon
“Amelia? Are you alright?” Felix, who has been my best friend for as long as I can remember, walked into the kitchen, stomping off the snow from his shoes. He pulled off his leather jacket and hung it on a peg by the door.
“Do I look okay?” I mumbled. He wrapped his arm around my shoulders.
“Come on, can I at least help? I remember eating those cookies. Grandma G. always made an extra batch for you and me. I never had the heart to tell her that I hated them.” He snorted and ran his fingers through his hair, slicking it back.
“Felix, I want to do this on my own. So leave, please.” He grinned playfully and left, whistling the tune of Jingle Bells.
“Oh, be quiet!” I called to the back of his head. I hated it when he whistled, and he knew that. “Felix, what day is today?”
“December 14, 1958,” He called back. He said it in the kind of voice a radio host uses. I chuckled.
But this meant I only had this afternoon to perfect the recipe. I poured a cup of flour in a tall, yellow bowl. Small particles flew in the air, but quickly settled. I cracked an egg, poured its contents in the bowl, and stirred it rapidly. I knew I was doing something wrong, but I’d fix it later.
While slowly pouring in chocolate syrup, I read the instructions for a Simple Cookie Base recipe out of my mother’s cookbook.
“Add in a pinch of salt,” I whispered, peering over the edge of the bowl. I grabbed the salt shaker and poured some in. That will do.
I sat on the back of Felix’s motorcycle, cold air whipping around me as I clutched a tin box that contained the cookies. My hands gripped his shoulders, hanging on for my life. I’m not the biggest fan of motorcycles, but it was better than riding with my mom and her tacky sweater. I could hear the crickets chirping as we slowed down. The lights on people's houses flashed with glee. I always love christmas, everyone is so… happy.
I pulled my sweater over my arms and thought of how proud Grandma would have been. After hours of work, I had done it. I had perfected the recipe. They tasted just like I remembered, burnt edges and all. I smiled at the thought of her warm hugs and the odd smell of lemon hand soap that always wafted around her.
The motorcycle came to a stop and Felix kicked a small metal kickstand out from beside the vehicle.
“Are you ready for the Christmas party?” The corner of his mouth twitched. I watched as my extended family filed into the house. It glowed with a warm, golden light and I knew a massive evergreen tree sat just beyond sight of the front door, like every year.
Uncle Howard was walking up the steps, a new girlfriend was clinging to his arm, when he saw me. “Little Amelia! You decided to show up! I didn’t think you’d have the guts after what you promised,” he snickered, bending over with his hands on his knees. “Baking Granny G.’s recipe? Impossible.”
“Well, Mr. Howard,” Felix said, taking a step forward. I loved how he could be so menacing, yet still call someone ‘Mr’. “She did bake those cookies, just like she promised,” he continued, “So, you need to back off.”
“Little Amelia has got a boyfriend to stand up for her now! Never thought it would happen!” He teased and rolled his eyes. Rage was building up in me. I couldn’t stand his teasing, his bad temper. The worst part was that he got away with it. I clutched my skirt tightly with my free hand.
“What is your problem?” I shouted. The other relatives quickly walked by, not wanting to get in a fight, “Why do you hate me? I have put up with your rude comments, lousy attitude, and jeering for far too long! I am sick of it! So, you can just—” Felix tilted my head upwards with a touch of his hands and put his lips on mine. Blood rushed to my face and I stood there. I was barely aware of what was going on. All I could think about was his dark brown eyes staring into mine, just a moment before our lips had touched. Those were the same eyes that had been there during my eighth grade dance, when he danced with me, just as friends, when no one else would. Those were the same eyes that had comforted me through the gossip and bullying in elementary school. Those were the same eyes...
“That’s right! I am her boyfriend,” Felix lied, but I realized I desperately wanted it to be true. “You better stop bothering her or there’s going to be trouble!” Felix rolled his shoulders backwards and balled his hands in fists. Howard shifted uncomfortably and moved his hand to grab the one of his girlfriend, but she was long gone. Good for her. He stuttered for a moment and turned around, hurrying inside.
Felix turned to face me. We were outside the house, no one else was around. “Sorry about that,” He said sheepishly, scratching his head. “I know I didn’t have your consent or anything, and you're big into that but—” He didn’t get to finish his thought. I stood on the tips of my toes and kissed him softly, just for a moment. His hand brushed the side of my cheek as he swept my dirty blond hair behind my ear. My hands moved, wrapping around his neck. I leaned against his chest, holding his hands.
We could hear Christmas music blasting from the radio in the house and we stood there, lost in each other's eyes. It was magical, almost like a fairytale.
“Would you like this dance?” He said, stepping away and holding out his hand. He cocked an eyebrow.
“Yes, I would like that very much,” I laughed. He took my hand in his and we danced, twirling and galloping, a mish-mash of waltzing, tango, and whatever else came to our mind. Our troubles were left behind, just like the tin of cookies, discarded on the ground.