I'm not sure why I went into the fog. There was something beautiful about the way it creeped. The way it crawled. A slow moving breath that had a thousand floating legs. As if someone was controlling the fog on a silent crank. It dipped down and up the hills of the farm, a caress between the fog and the ground. It was alluring. I could hear voices coming out of it. At first they were whispers. Sweet whispers. They made me remember a time long ago. It crept closer and I could no longer see the pines in the distance. I knew I should go back home, I had things to do. My legs didn't move as fast as they did years ago. A frost was setting in and the grass crunched beneath my feet. The fog gained on me, I could feel its tickle on my skin.
"Bill! Where are you? Bill?"
He liked to spend a few moments alone on the bench by the lake the mornings, he was such a quiet man. I love that about him. A quite confidence. I didn't like to be without him for long. Years back we abandoned our individuals.
The fog was thick around me now. It was a blanket; dense, soft, and familiar. I needed to make the cake. We had the kids coming over later for dinner, it was Bill's birthday. Chocolate birthday cake, it was tradition. Bill and I would eat the leftover cake with coffee over the next several mornings, I was looking forward to this. Our kids always declined to take leftover cake with them because they know our sugary secret. When they were children, it was all we could do to prevent them from finishing the cake in one night.
The fog was so thick now it was dizzying. I was lost in a cloud. I sat down on the grass to stop my head from spinning. I was still thinking of birthday traditions. The children... oh how they loved that cake too. I needed to get them to sign the birthday card for Dad. They would scribble in their names and cover the envelope with hearts and XOs. Each of them would have something small they made out of the craft box at home and, beaming, would give it to their Dad. I really needed to get back, the children had been alone for too long! Why did I wander so far?
"Bill!" I yelled. "Bill, where are you?"
The fog started to clear. The pines in the distance reappeared. I stood up and started in the direction of home.
The fog was thinning quickly, just as quick as it came. I could see a man walking towards me in the distance, wisps of fog making his figure fade in an out. Oh how silly of me. I remembered that the kids weren't young anymore, they were grown. I had no card for them to sign, there would be no crafted gifts. Sometimes I forget.
"BIll! There you are! I need to make the cake."
The last bits of the fog passed away and I reached the man. It was not Bill.
"Mom, I'm not Bill. Bill isn't here anymore remember? Maybe you shouldn't take walks too far away from home anymore. I could hear you shouting for Bill. Are you OK?"
"Oh yes honey, I'm OK, it was the fog... I got confused."
"It is alright Mom, lets go back. We have some Chocolate cake inside."
Recipe (serves 2)
Grits - 1/2 cup (on the generous side)
Cream - 1/4 cup (on the generous side)
Water - 1 and 3/4 cup
Broccoli - 1 head, chopped off the stalk into smaller pieces
Scallions - 1/2 a bunch, slivered
Garlic - 2 Cloves, minced
Dill - 2TB, fresh, minced
Eggs - 2
Lemon juice - juice of 1 lemon
Olive oil - 2TB
Apple cider vinegar - 1TB
Salt/pepper - to taste
Lemon zest, extra dill, extra scallions - to top (optional)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Take two eggs out of the fridge and let them rest on the counter. Chop & prep all veggies. Toss together the broccoli, garlic, scallions, fresh dill, lemon juice, olive oil, and salt/pepper. Spread the broccoli on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for about 30 minuets, flipping half way through. Meanwhile, place the grits, water, cream, and a pinch of salt in a small saucepan, covered, over low heat. Let it slowly simmer until cooked about 20-30 mins, stirring occasionally. After it is cooked, season with fresh black pepper.
About 10 mins before the grits are done, put about 2 inches of water in a deep skillet with the apple cider vinegar, and heat over medium until it starts simmering. Lower the temperature just a bit to keep the water at a low simmer. Crack one egg into a small bowl or ramekin. Gently slip the egg out of the ramekin into the skillet of simmering water and cook for 5 minuets, so all the whites are set but the yolks runny. Meanwhile distribute the grits between two serving bowls and top with broccoli mixture. Remove cooked egg with a slotted spoon and place over the bowl of grits & broccoli. Repeat with the second egg. Top the bowls with lemon zest, more dill & scallions if desired.