By Gwyneth Doland
I wish I had a magic printer that could make copies of the images I keep in my brain. I'd make a food file and record all the meals I ever ate, or the good ones at least. I could stick the firewire plug up my nose or under my tongue and bzzzzzp out would come glossy prints of my mother's gloppy creamed chipped beef. And the preschool birthday party when some girl named Dong wouldn't give me one of the red sugar roses from her birthday cake and I wanted to punch her in the nose. I remember the cake perfectly. I have hundreds like this: bright red pistachio shells rolling around on the nubby black rubber floor of a car. My legs were short and dangled from the seat; my father's fingers were stained red. And I remember the darkened interior of The Phoenix, a Greek restaurant where we ate dinner with my grandfather every Wednesday night. They had a blind piano player and a lounge singer who looked like Ricardo Montalban. Before the food came I ate package after package of Club crackers smeared with butter. And my grandmother's huckleberry cake—how did she do that, exactly? If I tried to recreate it now we'd all fight about it. I wish I had a picture that could prove I was right.
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