Atonement

“I don’t celebrate or repent or whatever it is you’re supposed to do tomorrow,” I tell my mother. I’m stirring a huge saucepan of meat sauce, dribbling in a little leftover wine I found on the counter. “And from what I remember growing up, you don’t either!” I taste the sauce. Perfect. I throw in a handful of romano cheese and a few pinches of dried oregano. “It doesn’t matter, I have to go to work anyway. I have things to take care of and a lunch meeting.” I grate a little onion into the pot and switch my cell phone to the other shoulder, wedged up against my chin and neck. “Plus you know I hate fasting. I find the whole act archaic and beneath me. I don’t believe in god, so I doubt he’ll be mad if I eat.” The cell phone starts to slide away, so I grab for it. My hand crashes onto the stove, sending the scorching hot saucepan to fly right at me, burning my hand, splattering thick red all over my pristine white kitchen. It’s like the opening scene of a paper towel commercial. I glance around suspiciously, run my throbbing hand under cold water and wince. “Mom,” I squeak, “I need to call you back.”

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