My Toaster

rg1024-isometric-toaster-800pxMy buddy Stan called from a bar to say he would be at my place the next morning for breakfast.

Before he arrived, I got to work. I diced onions and peppers  and shredded potatoes for a big meal of hash browns O’Brien.

He managed to show up on time – but he had stayed too late at the bar and didn’t look so good.

He looked even worse when he saw what I was making for breakfast.

Fumbling for a chair, he grunted, “How about toast instead?”

It’s been a long time since my toaster has seen 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. The lettering on the dial is no longer legible and the badly chipped plastic lever is barely workable.

None of that was caused by 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 me (and she left suddenly), she took the bookcase and the books (even mine).  She emptied the cupboards and carted off the silverware then she stormed into the bathroom and cleaned out of the medicine cabinet (after she had packed up the towels and the shower mat).  She even stole the toilet brush.

She left the house so empty, it echoed.  I swear the girl would have taken the echoes if she could. All she left me with was the toaster.

That was a bit of a mystery.

Perhaps since she took everything I loved, she left something that 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 I missed her volcanic temper (it was the only thing in nature that could singe the surface of the sun).

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 when I catch a glimpse of that toaster. It just sits there on my counter like a little time-machine, a witness to all my days, a thing that moves me back and forth from 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 that his toast was just the way he liked it.

“You got any jam?” he asked.

“Sure,” 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

www.almostiowa.com

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

  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.

  5. 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!

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