Day 20 – Breakfast; SALT; Breakfast, part 2

Monday, September 20, 2010
Day 20
1:00 pm


In that practical, loving way
grandmothers can keep
you, send you off with
presents like gardening tools
and Summer, Winter and

In her soup, Bachan’s
greatest gifts
Ozoni made once a year
The last thing to eat on New Years
Eve, the first thing to
greet us come New Years morning

Stretches of mochi,
sticky, smooth and long
from bowl to mouth
Stock of bones and bits and
incomprehensible notes to
the novice palate

But talk of it didn’t matter
to Bachan
She sent us off full
and managed to keep us
in her kitchen
We are still there



“Christine O’Donnell is an extremist and was a staunch supporter
of the lie that people can ‘pray away the gay’.”
-Wade Richards, former “ex-gay” poster-boy and ex-member
of S.A.L.T., Savior’s Alliance for Lifting the Truth

Alternative to
Loving & Logical

Association of

Assholes against
Love and


Breakfast, part 2
…a bit of creative nonfiction

We open our menus. Everyone is anxious to start their day
with something amazingly yummy. A round of water and coffee
for everyone.
The server returns soon with our morning libations and we go
right into our orders.
Craving savory, I hone in on a mostly healthy dish of mixed greens
with avocado and bacon, ordering swiftly while smiling at everyone
else to see what they select.

And then it happens.

As if I should be ever be surprised anymore for the rest of my life.
But every time, I find myself in a minimal state of shock, to say
the least. At best, I am able to steady myself, for here it comes.

12 o’clock, “Deviled egg special with a side of (indecipherable).”
1 o’clock, “Scrambled, with a side of scrambled, with a side of scrambled.”
3 o’clock, “Sunny side up, extra runny, double order, make that a triple,
triple runny so the volcano of yolk runneth over the edge of my plate and
flows like a furious river directly to my left onto the banks of my
neighbor’s napkin.”


More than palpable, you can feel the strengthening in my breakfast mates’
spirits, drum beats rolling off the tips of the their fingers onto the table in
anticipation of their dishes’ arrival. The water glasses shake, the utensils
hop in time. There is even a rumble throughout the diner now, as everyone
is looking our way, sinister sideways gazes toward my fear. The chorus
of faces from the counter stay in beat – looking at the kitchen, looking at
me, looking at the kitchen, looking at me.

It is coming.

I am trapped.
I knew I should have sat on the open side of the booth.

But it is too late.
Everyone else is so agreeably chatty.
And the kitchen doors have just swung open.
The plates come, galantly splaying their heaping mess of egginess with
sides of otherwise totally edible if not delicious items screaming for
acknowledgment. I know, pancake. I understand, sausage, darling.
I’m sorry, but I can barely look at you at this point. I assure you.
You’ve done nothing wrong. It’s not you. But it’s not me, either.
We both know what I’m talking about here.

My lips instantly part to make way for the through-the-open-mouth-to-
avoid-scent-intake breathing technique honed by years of experiences
just like these.
My eyes narrow, my lower back scrunches, my neck hunches down,
I notice my breath is stilted and I have to concentrate better. The thing
about breathing through your mouth is that you aren’t extending oxygen
throughout your diaphragm and opening up your ribcage in the way you
do naturally when you take a deep breath through your nose. Or at
least, you have to work much harder to do so. And this is not the time
or place to have to work so hard. I was just in a deep sleep not more
than two hours ago. What is this? Surely, some kind of test.

That’s what eggs have become in my life – a symbol of life’s greatest
tests…making it through spaces when you feel you’re just not quite…human.
Or at least, not human enough, not more-like-others enough, or worse,
not good enough to make it through, period.

Thankfully, my table mates eat quickly, they as ravenous as I.
I concentrate on the conversation, on my coffee, on my avocado and
bacon salad, and of course, on my breathing.

I relax.

I even join in on the laughter (especially once the plates are cleared).
We speak of our day ahead and I return to deep breaths through my nose.


All is well and we are all satisfied and full. Satisfied, you ask?
Truly? Why, yes.
This is, after all, just another day, another test.
Just another egg in a life full of exuberantly challenging breakfasts.



About traciakemi

traci akemi kato-kiriyama - inter/multi-disciplinary theatre/performance artist, arts educator, cultural worker, community organizer. Tuesday Night Project; theatre, performance, writing, and teaching projects with many organizations and artists including: zero 3; Edge of The World for Asian Arts Initiative in Philadelphia and the National Asian American Theatre Festival in New York; "PULL" with Kennedy Kabasares in San Francisco; Nobuko Miyamoto and Great Leap Collaboratory I; TeAda; NCRR; Oymun's 11. Playwright for "Chasing Dad - a performance of a reading about a play i'm writing" presented by Inside the Ford for the Ford's Summer Playwright series. View all posts by traciakemi

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