T E M P E R

or The Trouble With Saying Goodbye

Mama used to make this dessert when we were kids, lemon bars for the first day of summer vacation. They were like the perfect hit of sweet and tart, the kind that clenched your jaw, and I used to love eating them ice cold. On days when it was really hot, we'd have dinner on the table in the backyard and when we’d cleaned our plates, mama would cut one up for me and Shayla to share. Always nearby in the background, our aunts respun the details of real life, while we waited for the sun to dip and the last fingers of twilight tickled the lightning bugs awake.

When I was old enough, I asked if I could watch how she made them. It started with the cookie crust - shortbread because, "You can still impress people with the simple things." And then her trick was to warm the lemon juice, sugar and flour, and then slowly add the eggs in. I never knew she used eggs and thought it was gross because I was 9, but I was fascinated by the fact that they didn't scramble. "You have to add them in slowly baby, so they don't even know they're being cooked."

That's what the end felt like with you.

Ours was a death that crept along so quietly I didn't even notice me slipping through my own fingers. Slowly being tempered away from simple, impressing things and the happiness that floated on a humid 90-degrees.

I lost mama in a day, it happened in the blink of an eye. But you and I? We lost us in a sprawling number of years, strewn across my adulthood and all that was left was our sticky-sweet memory, cold and washed away with the last bits of my favorite summer.