went to the armenian grocery store today. of my own free will. hadn't been there since i was little and had to unwillingly accompany my mother on saturday errands.
it was even smaller than i remembered. and crowded with dark-haired women and their daughters, who passed me in the narrow aisles and said "excuse me" in english. the crowded shelves were hastily stacked with spices and grains and chick peas and cans with labels i couldn't read. there was a lonesome comfort in the jars of olives and pickles. i wanted everything. but i didn't know what to buy. so i filled my basket with things recognized from my mother's kitchen, and headed for the woman behind the counter. do i speak to her in armenian or english? i tried to rehearse armenian in my head but couldn't think of the proper sentence structure to ask for finely ground coffee with cardamon. so i retreated to english. and paid for my packages in cash. and she looked at me inquisitively, as if trying to recognize me. or my mother.
getting in my car, i was overwhelmed with the warm, earthy smell of coffee and fresh pita bread. and suddenly, i was six again, and being gathered up into my mother's bosom. i hardly recognized the yearning that left me giddy and wanting to cry at the same time.
i went home and piled everything on my kitchen counter. stood there for a moment and took it all in. then, without warning, lemons were being sliced, and cans opened, and garlic cloves crushed, and hummus stirred. then goat cheese was being fried, and pita was being torn in smaller pieces.
things this armenian girl had never really wanted to do before. things this american girl never thought she needed. or missed.