Comfort foods

I pull my two yards of fabric closer to me, curled in a ball wishing I had a better way to get warm. Then I laugh and remember the grueling mornings of the hot season. I don’t miss waking up drenched in sweat, despite the fan being on me all night. As I get dressed, I immediately grab my jeans, anything else is too cold. I left my scarves and warmer clothes back in Germany. I’m really missing them now. I debate wrapping a two yard around my neck and calling it an infinity scarf. I slip on my now too loose Chacos and head out into the foggy morning. I haven’t seen the sun in over a week. I try to remember when weather wasn’t an extreme. I laugh again, being from Oklahoma every day is extreme weather. I walk towards town at a brisk pace to keep warm. The mist of the morning clings to my face and hair. I pass by families cooking breakfast over an open fire. I greet them as I walk past. I hop over the ditch and land on the asphalt road. It rained the night before, so the ground is slick. I cautiously step over a pile of sewer dirt as I head down the road. I wave at the girl washing a store’s tile floor with a rag as I continue by. I hear far off screams of “OBRONI!” as I turn onto the main road.

I keep my head down as the cars fly past me, the wind makes the mist swirl around me. I greet the woman who sells early morning banku. I hear her customer click furiously and exclaim “wote Twi!” I smile and keep walking. I pass the new container store which has been painted like an American flag. I chuckle quietly. I’m careful as I walk; the rain has stirred up sewage, dirt, and oil in a coalescence of filth. The pungent odor of the town wafts by with each passing car. I wrinkle my nose, but it’s a desperate effort. I walk past my favorite general store and greet the owner enthusiastically. Her smile lights up the store. I continue past building after building passing children crying and yelling. I’m getting closer to my destination. I check the busy road for errant Daewoos and quickly skip across to the other side. I keep my head down as I pass a group of burly men in blue coveralls. They don’t greet me. As I reach the blue metal stand, I see my friend’s face peek out from behind her mound of kenkey. I carefully step onto the wooden plank hovering over the ditch and walk slowly towards my friend. With a big smile I greet her and lament about how long it has been. She fires off in Twi asking me where I went to, clearly I must have travelled. She asks when I got back and why it has taken me so long to come get kenkey. I plead that it has only been a week and ask for her forgiveness. She smiles and gives me a steaming hot bag full of kenkey. I wave as I leave and begin my journey home.

As I return home, I set my kenkey on the ground and pull my keys out of my pocket. I unlock my gate and tug open my door. I gently set my kenkey on the wooden counter and kick off my shoes. I slide into my flip flops and shimmy out of my jeans. I throw my pajamas back on with flourish. I carefully place the kenkey in a dish and wash my hands. I sit down eager to eat my hearty breakfast. As I claw into my ball of kenkey, I feel at ease. Comfort food at it’s best.

As I finish my food, I know that soon I won’t be able to indulge in these rituals. I will be sent back to a land of different rituals and different food. But for now I will enjoy every moment of eagerly dipping my corn dough drenched hands into spicy pureed goodness. 


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