How to Prepare - Natassja Norwood

How to Prepare...

For this recipe the following ingredients you will need will be:


1.5 cups of pent up anger

2.5 ounces of generational cycles (unbroken)

1 ounce of black boy joy (Watered down, of course)

A nice white neighborhood

Two very black pee-wee football teams

And finally, the wrong place at the wrong time.


Chef’s note: I came home for the remainder of the semester because my mental health had been on a steady decline for some time. And being home meant safety, security, and free food. That particular night fog hung heavy, like a sullen blanket on my very suburban neighborhood. Mist you only see in horror movies. My mom told me to meet her at my brother’s football game so I could help with the snacks. So I gathered up my little sister, myself, and a newfound spirit of calmness that settled over me. I felt like I was finally on the up and up. No more bad thoughts for me.


I never liked my brother’s football team. The coach had spent the last week cyberbullying the opposing team’s coach. Nasty Facebook comments, Twitter fingers laying on metaphorical triggers.

STEP ONE:

18-20, we lost.

“Oh look, there’s Mom, let’s go towards her. Let’s help her hand out snacks.”


STEP TWO:

Four shots

Running feet

Screaming voices

Chaos


STEP THREE:

“Hanna, grab my hand and run, run, run….PEYTON!!!! RUN WITH ME.”

Peyton wouldn’t come. He wouldn’t follow me, why wouldn’t he follow me.

“MOMMM!” Peyton ran towards the shots.


STEP FOUR:

I look forward as I run, through the mist, fog, thick, dense. There’s a hill, if we get there we can roll down and shield ourselves.

But, Peyton. Mom. Peyton. Mom.

I take Hanna in my arms as we tumbled down the hill,

The wet grass soaking our pants.

Hanna, grasping my hand, tears falling down her face.

My heart. My breathing.



STEP FIVE:

“Hanna, get down, stay down.”


STEP SIX:

Mist, fog, thick, dense, heavy, wet.

“Run, run, where’s peyton, mom, peyton, mom…”


STEP SEVEN:

What if...he’s...hurt...shot...like Earnest,

19...shot...dead…

Peyton,

Earnest,

Black,

Boy,

Live.


Later that night as we sat around the dining room table, I was still shaken and the little blue pill that my mother had slipped under my tongue wouldn’t stop the horror, the what if’s, the why’s, the how’s. I looked at my brother, who was safe. Then to my mother, who was safe. And then to my sister, who was safe. We sat. Waiting for the other shoe to drop for the dust to settle. And it did. It did. Coach Marky was killed.


The next morning I had to take my mom to the airport. The drive there was silent.

“Was that the first time you’ve heard gunshots?”

She asked.

“Yes.”

“Yeah, it can be traumatizing.”


I sat, stuck on her question. First time? As if it was written in my destiny to be in the middle of a shootout, horrified, grasping onto life itself praying it wouldn’t be snatched away. First time? As if it would be the first of many.


Step Eight:

Once the meal is finished and plated

Be sure to garnish with a little bit of “Grief counseling.”

Enough to cope,

Enough for 12-year-old boys to comprehend why their game ended with the death of a beloved coach,

But not nearly enough to break these generational curses.

Natassja Norwood is a Sophomore majoring in English at Kansas State University. Her favorite scent is her grandparent's house and she is a huge foodie.

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