My Toaster

rg1024-isometric-toaster-800pxMy buddy Stan stopped by for breakfast after a night of drinking at The Pit.

As I set about slicing ham, peppers and onions for an omelet, he simply stared at the fixings and groaned, “How about toast instead?”

It’s been a long time since my toaster saw action. Mostly it just squats on the counter, growing old and occupying space.

The years have dulled its finish to the color of ditch water and the numerals on the dial are no longer legible. The lever barely works. Yet none of this is due to over-use. The only wear it gets is when I shove it out of the way to wash the counter. Still I wouldn’t dream of tossing it out.

It is not even mine.

It belongs to an old girlfriend. One whose love for burnt toast and apricot jam exceeded her love for me.

When she left, and she left suddenly, she took the books and the bookcase. She emptied the cupboards and carted off the silverware before storming into the bathroom to pack up the towels, roll up the shower mat and clean out the medicine cabinet. She even grabbed the toilet brush.

When she finally left, the house was so empty, it echoed.

I swear the girl would have taken the echoes if she could.

All she left was the toaster, and that was a bit of a mystery.

Perhaps because she took everything I loved, she left something she loved out of guilt and while I never loved toast, I hung on to that toaster.

I kept it to remind myself of what I had missed.  I missed her brilliant green eyes.  I missed her fiery red hair and even her volcanic temper.

I don’t know exactly why she left me. Someone said it was because of a fling she had with someone else.

Whoever that was, I owe him my thanks.

Still… I think about it now and then, especially after catching a glimpse of that toaster. It just sits there on my counter as a witness to my days, serving as a little time-machine that moves me back and forth from the past to present and reminds me that of all the things that might have been – I have the best.

I loaded the toaster for Stan and waited until a column of blue smoke curled from the slots, indicating his toast was just the way he liked it.

“You got any jam?” he asked.

“I do,” I told him, “I have grape and raspberry and oh yeah,  I always keep a jar of apricot jam handy… just for you.”

Author: Almost Iowa

30 thoughts on “My Toaster”

  1. Great writing! Funny as usual and some of those lines should be etched in stone. My favorite: Of all the things that might have been… I have the best.

  2. “Burnt toast and apricot jam” would make a great title for a country song. A line in the lyric might be: “She left the house so empty, it echoed”. You could include “her temper singed the surface of the the sun”. Kinda like Tom T. Hall:

    By the way, does the wife know about the toaster?

  3. What a story! Well done! Women have a way of doing that…taking everything worthwhile and leaving strange to understand items! When Mr. Sig Other got shafted by his wife, she left a dying ivy plant & an old coffee maker. Hmm! 💛 Christine

    1. One of Stan’s girlfriends took all of his things and left a philodendron. He kept it alive for years. For Stan, that says something. His next girlfriend took the plant.

  4. Toaster dulled to the color of ditch water. Now there’s some writing.

    And I love this line, truly the message I see in this piece: reminds me – that of all the things that might have been… I have the best.

    It usually works out that way, even when we can’t see the “best” end result initially.

    1. Anyone who is happy with their life, always believes that things turned out the best. It is because the secret to happiness is not to let wanting more make you unhappy.

  5. I think I still have some apricot jam. And a toaster that doesn’t work, but it’s over-worked, not under, and I plan to buy another. Maybe Christmas.

  6. My ex-wife took everything, including the coffee maker that her parents had given me as a gift. We had an agreement as to what was supposed to be mine, and the coffee maker was on it. My lawyer checked the price of a new coffee maker and advised me that I could buy one for less than it would cost to officially talk to him about about it. He said “why would you want to be reminded of her every time you make a cup of coffee?”

    Then again, I don’t have friends like Stan.

    Nice post!

  7. Reminds me a little of the old Garth Brooks song…Thank God for unanswered prayers…sometimes, what you don’t have is a great reminder that what you do have is far greater.

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