Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I was taking eggs out of a carton to make breakfast. They were all white and perfect until I turned the middle one over as I pulled it out of its nook. A concentric break at its narrow end with little cracks running from the first circle out to the farthest. I stood wondering whether to use it or not-- if it were cooked through, would I still get sick?

As I was making coffee I realized that the broken egg had to have been a dream, because we were out of eggs. Turned the dream over in my mind-- how boring, I wouldn't even tell anyone about such a mundane dream. I forgot about it by the time I got to work.

At the grocery later, I called my son. I'd forgotten the list. He read out the items, including, of course, the eggs. Without recalling the dream, I checked prices, considered who'd be here over the week (three egg eaters, including my stepdaughter) and splurged on the carton of 18. Checked them all for breaks. Carefully put it in its own bag so the eggs wouldn't be crushed by heavy items or heated by the roast chicken.

My arms's in a brace because I'm having a bout of bursitis, so most of the heavy stuff goes in my backpack, the light, fragile stuff I hand carry out the door. This being New York, I don't have a car, so I only buy what I can carry. I get to the curb and hear a soft rustling and then a definite plop. The egg bag has escaped to the sidewalk. I open the carton and turn over the middle egg, exactly the one that had been broken in my dream, and was relieved that this one wasn't broken exactly the same way.

As I walked home through the park, careful now that the eggs had already fallen once, I thought of the dreams of Jesse dying. I've never dreamed of anything bad happening to Jesse's younger brother. He is always safe. Was this mundane egg dream a test of the system?

When I got home I found that 8 other eggs had been broken also, exactly like the egg in my dream. So much so that the smallest circle of shell popped into the bowl as I emptied each egg, yolk and all, while college helped unload the rest of the groceries.
As any good French girl would do with eggs broken after breakfast, I made a triple size custard. It's sitting in its bain-marie now, slowly becoming solid.


  1. You know, there are few people who can write with sincerity and insight about the death and grief and the unconscious and in the same small essay convince me they were fated to have custard for dinner.

    I swear ... you and your talent....

  2. It was a damn fine custard, too, I might add. Took a few days to get through it though. Hope you had a great xmas and will have a happy new year.


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