Amanda Conner

[Fiction]  How do You Fuck Up Tacos?

I have officially decided that I am not allowed to be in my kitchen while on my period. I do not have permission to bake delicious treats, or even cook savory meals. For one week each month, I’m only allowed to order take out or starve.

 

Why?

 

Because it feels like someone is trying to scrape out the inside of my uterus with an ice cream scoop. This nonstop feeling causes my brain to think irrationally, which ultimately consumes me with emotions that I can’t fathom to process.

 

Last week, I started crying when I fucked up one of the easiest recipes known to man. Tacos. Classic, beef tacos. By my sobs, you would have thought someone had told me my mother died.

 

I can tell you that the easiest way to fuck up tacos is with cinnamon. I had originally thought the spice I grabbed from my pantry was chili powder. But no.

 

It was fucking cinnamon!

 

Now, imagine yourself looking down into a sizzling pan of taco meat. The beef is perfectly browned, and you can smell each spice wafting through the air. Cumin, red pepper, and a hint of paprika. Then, as you dollop in what you thought was chili powder, you notice a familiar scent coming from the nonstick pan. A scent that reminds you of sitting in front of a warm fireplace on cozy, fall mornings. Of your mother’s homemade apple pie, warmed to perfection and topped with thick, vanilla ice cream.

 

After realizing what you have done, you might try salvaging your meal. Maybe you attempt to scoop out the cinnamon, or possibly start a new dish from scratch.

 

However, I did not proceed to do either of these things.

 

Why?

 

Because I had been bleeding through a tampon every hour. Because I was bloated to the point that my stomach was hanging over my jeans. Because I was hungry and nauseous at the same time, and I would have rather been in bed than breathing.

 

I was not someone who could handle such a catastrophic event.

 

Instead of starting over, I sat on the floor for fifteen minutes trying to catch my breath as I uncontrollably sobbed to the only person that would listen. She had run over to me before I had even dropped to my knees. Her head tilted side-to-side with each drawn out inhale, and her ears were pointed straight up.  After a few minutes of me cursing through each high pitched wail, she began to howl in perfect harmony with my grieving soul.

 

I couldn’t help but look up at her and smile. When I began to laugh, she got close to my face and licked away my tears. I put my arms around her soft neck and held her as long I could. Her thick fur brushed against my swollen cheeks as the scent of burning taco meat filled the air. I listened to my dog pant while the kitchen began to fill with smoke.

 

I turned off the burner once I decided to get up from the floor. Instead of staring into the blackened pit on my stove, I grabbed a pint of vanilla ice cream out of the freezer, and spoon from the dish rack. As I began walking towards my bedroom, a hint of burnt cinnamon hit my nostrils.

 

At that moment, all I could think of was my mother’s warm, homemade apple pie.

 


Amanda Conner graduated with a Masters of Arts in Creative Writing from Missouri State University in 2015. She is currently pursuing a second Masters of Arts degree in Writing with an emphasis in Rhetoric and Composition. This is her first publication.

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