Kiana discovered that the holiday season brought out the best in folks in her district of the city. Everyone wore holly sprigs in their caps and even complete strangers greeted each other with well-wishes and winter blessings. She hoped these good feelings might last throughout the year.
She wanted to contribute something that would bring smiles to passersby, without having to spend the entire day in the snowy courtyard, waving to neighbors and newcomers.
You can’t be too serious, she figured, if you wanted to make people chuckle, and what was funnier than asymmetry? Not much, actually.
She had a lot of cooking to do before her guests arrived for the WinterFest feast. Though the appliances and counters were still old and stained, her cookware was brand new. She made cranberry-citrus sauce, honey-glazed sweet potatoes, fresh rolls, wild rice dressing, and a tofu-turkey.
The kitchen smelled amazing.
Her old college roommate wasn’t convinced by aroma alone.
“You sure it’s safe for us to eat anything that comes out of this kitchen?” he asked. “I mean… it hasn’t been condemned, has it?”
“It looks like it should be,” Kiana agreed.
But the feast was amazing. If you closed your eyes, you could imagine you were in a five-star restaurant–or, better yet, a newly remodeled kitchen.
“I don’t remember you cooking like this back in our old place,” her roommate said.
“I don’t think I ever cooked,” Kiki admitted, “too busy studying and training.”
She sort of missed those days. It still felt odd that they could be over so quickly, and her new life begun. She loved so much about this new life, but it wasn’t yet routine, and she still felt like she was floating, ungrounded. Maybe that’s what came of living 12 flights up!
Father Winter came before they finished seconds.
“Introduce me to all your friends,” he said, and Kiana felt flustered. On the spot like that, she couldn’t even remember all their names. Somehow, she’d developed this knack of picking up friends with a simple hello, but putting a face to a name, and a name to a face, and remembering where each one lived and what each one did challenged her, even when no one was asking or waiting or staring at her.
Her mouth was full, and that was a good excuse to stay quiet, and by the time she’d swallowed, everyone had introduced themselves. Crisis averted.
They all had a good time and stayed so late, and even after she’d packaged up the leftovers in to-go boxes and scrubbed the stained counters and mopped the chipped floor, people were still there, talking.
Even a kitchen in desperate need of a make-over is still a kitchen. Even a home without much furniture is still a home. Even friends whose names you can never remember are still friends. It’s feelings that count, and the feeling is warmth.