What if she fried the eggs in the bacon grease?
What if she diced the peppers and onions and cooked those first? What if she sliced the sausages and threw them in, then took everything out and cooked the bacon, and then fried the eggs in the bacon grease? What if she scrambled the eggs and threw the peppers and onions and sausages back in with them, before the bacon grease was totally cooked away?
What if she put a lid over the plate of bacon to keep it hot? What if she threw in some cayenne and black pepper, then portioned everything out into the plates, each with a matching side of two strips of bacon? What if every strip of bacon was somehow always exactly the same length?
What if, before all that, she had already toasted the bread, buttered it, spread the jam? What if each plate got two pieces of toast, both with butter, one with raspberry jam and one with blueberry? What if the jams were homemade and contained no preservatives? What if she perfectly salted the eggs?
What if the coffee was ready at exactly that moment, and she brought the French press right to the table with the plates and the mugs? What if there was already a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice at each of the place settings, which had been laid out even before the glasses?
What if everyone came racing to the table with a smiling face and said “Thank you?” What if a prayer was said before the meal, but no one took the religion thing that seriously, and she knew exactly how much they all appreciated her? What if the prayer was not just a thanks for this bountiful feast but for the care and hard work that put it in the fridge or the cupboard, then in the pan, then in the plate and on the table?
What if everything went right, and there was no conflict or subtext, and everyone knew exactly how greatly they were loved?
George highlighted all the text and without hesitation stabbed Delete. He thought of his nice, cozy morning with his family, and the one he was about to have — and the ones where he cooked breakfast and nothing stayed quite as hot or looked quite as nice but everyone still said “Thank you.” He thought of how much they all meant to him, how supported he felt about his decision to quit, how much he wanted to make them proud.
They didn’t wonder what would put the eggs and sausage in the fridge or the bread in the cupboard, he thought, and he didn’t want them to.
He picked up the bottle, sweating a little, and started over, wishing time went in more directions. He seemed to recall this being easier when he was younger — when everything else in life was harder, strangely enough. Whatever that could mean.
The sun was starting to invade the room. That was once again the worst moment of it all. One more morning of lying that he was up early, not late.
What if everything went right, indeed.
What a stupid idea. Why would anyone read that?
Stefano Black is an NYC-based writer, filmmaker, and vocal champion of breakfast.
He is available for hire or eating all your food, which you should really consider letting him do.
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