[Writing Time: 8 minutes]

P is for Pistachio

For years, I thought they bled red. I didn’t know until I was older that pistachios were dyed, that their original color wasn’t red at all, but actually pale brown. I spent so many Sundays cracking the colored nuts open, their pale pink shells splitting to reveal the redmeat hearts. My finger tips layered with crimson, the whorls of my prints becoming complicated mazes mapped in flesh and ink.

Next to me, my mother broke the nuts open between her teeth. They split with a hard crunch and a soft mush, like bones outside marrow.

“After this, we’ll have chips and dip. Maybe carrots and blue cheese.”

I broke a pistachio open. The shell cut my finger in a small, curved slice. Red to red. Every Sunday my mother picked me up outside my dad’s door. Okay, not every Sunday. But the Sundays that she remembered. The other Sundays, I’d sit outside with a book, no matter how cold, pretending to read while I watched for her little blue car that never came.

But this was one of the Sundays that she’d remembered, and this was what we did — sat around and broke things in the catch of our mouths, trying to find something to talk about in between.

My mother put a pistachio in her mouth. The nut cracked between her teeth.

“Aren’t we having fun?” Her lips were stained ruddy. When she smiled, her teeth smeared red with blood.


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