When death slipped its macabre limbs beneath the harmonious front doors and through the breezy eastward windows, there was nothing they could do except simply exist. They could only abide by the habitual timetables, too helpless to consolidate their grievances. Wake up to the wailing alarm at 7 am. Make their weary beds. Cook their broken eggs. No time to ice their bruises or cocoon their heavy hearts.
He would have them scrambled that morning, quick enough for him to finish and move on to the rest of the day, another vacant, disorienting cycle of spite, grief, and catatonia. A chill creeped up his leg from the tiled floor of the kitchen, where his mother was sitting when he woke up on this day last week. Taking to the burner, he remembered what she had always taught him: hot pan, cold oil. On contact, the pool of grease sizzled like acid eating away at a wound.
Stiff fingers picked up the egg from its nest of molded pulp and smashed it on the rim of the pan, burning with hate that doesn’t encompass even a fraction of what that stain on humanity holds*. But he had to steady himself; stay sensible, dependable, and composed, because he had a little brother to take care of. And because he couldn’t fall into the same deadly chasm that devoured his unsuspecting mother. Looking down at the corn colored mush laced with flecks of separated whites, he saw only a jumble of bigotry, conceit, and a surreal manifestation of the Yellow Peril.
Homogeneity eluded the fork gripped between his fingers, no matter how hard he tried to invoke it. With each futile attempt, the strip of immalleable metal only punctured the coagulating mass more. It was too late—maybe if he had given it a vigorous whisk beforehand, there wouldn’t lay before him a heap of chaos, dissent, and division. There were so many questions he wished to ask, but before he could utter anything, they had crystallized with the salt particles that scattered into the heat and dissolved into the vortex of viscous injustice.
The scrambled eggs were repulsive: the texture of curdled milk, the color of scapegoated yolks. The rancid taste of dissonance was no longer just a hint of paranoia. It had become hatred’s self fulfilling prophecy.
*The words of Randy Park, son of Hyun Jung Kim, victim of the 2021 Atlanta Spa Shootings, in his tribute to his mother in an Instagram post made on March 26, 2021.