> jumping into life.

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it's christmas, and i'm chopping three yellow onions for a christmas chili. there's calypso on the radio and rain outside. there will be chocolate in the chili, and cinnamon, and the very last of the black pepper in the glass pepper shaker on the table. the onions are a jumbled, glistening pile on my cutting board, and tears pull down my face, making little saltwater pools in the corners of my mouth. onions usually don't bother me; that's why i'm the one cutting onions while my mother slices celery and crushes garlic with sharp blows under the heel of her hand. but today there is music and rain and the onions, too much. i chop blinded, blindly, and trust the knife to know where my fingers are.

when the chili is finished, the water simmered away and the beans gleaming darkly, we heap it into purple bowls and add white cheddar cheese and try to balance the hot bowls with hot cornbread. the neighbors' kids don't want salad, don't want bread, don't want chili, want to know why we don't have cookies or two remote-control cars instead of just one. in the middle of dinner i well up with laughter, just about throw my head back and guffaw, but instead i just turn my eyes down and smile into my bowl.

merry christmas.