Recalling Times of Joy – New Year’s Eve, 1999

I proceeded to fold my 43rd paper dove, poking its core with a needle, stringing teal glass beads along a chord from which good fortune would dangle from my sister’s bedroom door frame. Every December our television blared a special – how other countries welcomed the year to come. 2000 doves, released into the eve of our new millennium. In synchrony and independence, they fluttered in formation, mirroring phases of a constant moon.

A plate of spaghetti, dashed with pepper. A maternal tradition, banana ketchup her secret, beloved spell. The fork twirls through strands of gold, like my paper doves when kissed with a draft invited by an open window. I chew, thinking about the can walking stilts we made in class before winter break. Visiting Auntie would wait until summer. For now, I slurp up this dinner my cousins are eating too.

It’s quiet outside, and no one’s here but the four of us, in a clean house. Grapes, oranges, pears, bananas. Perched on the dining table. Ripe and uneaten. No one can answer my question about whether avocados are vegetables. I walk away knowing that eating them makes you live to be one hundred twenty.

The canvass of night glows golden. Our neighbors begin to sing – a song I learned to play on a recorder in music class:

Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot
And auld lang syne

Saying goodbye to flowers grown stale, I jump for godsends.

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