• Nukhet Hendricks

Kitchen Table

I sit at the kitchen table!

It is the new kitchen table we recently bought.

The old one that I used to sit at was way too

big for this space.

I had to let it go. It was so sturdy,

so heavy. In the old house, it felt good.

Here, in the new house, in the new kitchen,

it felt overwhelming.

So we sold that and bought a new one.

It doesn’t feel as sturdy. Maybe I don’t

feel as sturdy in this house as I did

in my other home.

I sit at the kitchen table. I hear the birds.

I am now feeding birds. I inherited the bird feeders from the former owner. She loved birds.

Now, I am sitting here watching the birds

and wondering what happened.

I had promised myself that just for a year, just for

12 months, I was going to be responsible

only for me. Not for any other living and breathing thing with a soul.

(Yes, I do believe even the birds have a soul.)

And yet, here I am, making myself responsible for feeding the birds. Making my husband run after

most organic and cleanest bird food.

I sit at the kitchen table. I smell the Turkish green bean dish I am cooking.

Funny, I think to myself that I can tell from the

smell if it is done cooking, and based on the scent,

it is not done cooking.

It will be a while.

I sit at the kitchen table and the smell of

the cooking takes me back to my mother’s


I remember how my growing up years are

filled with smells.

The salty smell of the sea dancing with the aromas of “living.”

And then I remember the colors.

Always the shades of blue … but

But the smells… smells get me. Because

My memories of my childhood summers are

all about the smells of summer food cooking,

and competing with the lilac bushes

by the entry of the apartment house, we lived in.

I sit at the kitchen table and remember

that I don’t have a mother to go home to.

My heart breaks a bit more.

I sit at the kitchen table and hear my

husband walks in.

He says, “ahhh… the house smells

delicious … it smells like a Turkish home.”

I laugh! I say it is a Turkish home silly!

As long as I am, so the house shall be.

I sit at the kitchen table and in my mind’s eye,

I take a stroll down the streets of my birth city

I stroll through the smells.

The delicious, mouthwatering smells of grilling kebab,

mixed with the strong smell of raki.

The smell of fresh produce next door to

the restaurant and one step further,

I walk into the tantalizing aroma of sugar, butter, and nuts of the baklava shop,

then there comes the bakery that created our daily bread

every single day three times a day tirelessly.

And then I remember I no longer have a Mom

to go home to! Oh, my heart…

I sit at the kitchen table.

I watch my husband roam around the house.

Then I remember him saying the house

smells like a Turkish home.

I then I realize I am finally

home with this man.

For the first time in my life

a man knows “smells” are what

makes a house a home.

And I exhale!

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