Third Place Short Fiction: "Eggs Benedict"
by Grady Watson Goldberg '09
Joe, your mother, Mary, was quite attractive. I heard from a friend that she still is. Good for her, and I suppose for you, too. I’ve just thought about the blizzard of ’96. Do you remember that? The snow was piled up so high in my driveway that I could dunk on a regulation basket —10 feet, my first time hanging from the rim. Anyway, I almost drown in it on my way across the yard to your house. I struggled up the kinked oak staircase that isn’t there anymore and knocked on the glass door. Why I knocked I don’t remember, I think maybe it was because your mother, Mary, was inside with her back to me, arranging the snack cupboard, and I was scared that if I walked in unannounced she would have a heart attack — I really used to worry an awful lot about things like that. So I knocked, and she turned around and let me in, smiling that thousand-dollar smile. It smelled amazing inside. I could hear your slow, awkward steps coming through the long wooden hallway, and you entered the bright kitchen blushing as usual — you were such a timid child, I felt sorry for you sometimes, did you ever know that? You were quite pathetic. You whispered hello. Your mother asked if I wanted some eggs benedict, that she was just making the hollandaise sauce. Your eyes lit up. “Yesss,” you said grinning sheepishly. I felt out of place just then. “What is that?” I asked. She smiled and went to the refrigerator. “Do you like eggs?” she wondered. “Of course.” And she made those runny eggs and that glazed ham, and drenched it all in a hollandaise sauce so rich and creamy that I fell in love. I’ve tried since, many times, but none have ever compared to your mother Mary’s. She really was quite attractive, Joe. And we sat there with the snow still falling outside, and the three of us ate eggs benedict together quietly.