This piece is something I wrote for SOUP, a wonderful society a student from my school started. Enjoy!
She sat at the wooden kitchen table, bare feet brushing the cool tile floor. It was late, and her father had gone to bed after a long day of work. The only light source was a dim yellow bulb above the stove whose light only grazed her forearms, leaving the rest of her body in darkness. She sat in silence for a long minute, thoughts drifting, before the sweet aroma of the soup she had ladled into a medium bowl found its way to her nose. Borscht, her mother had called it.
She looked down at the steaming, glassy surface of the soup, colored red from the numerous beets within. Even the chopped potatoes were stained red. Her mother had told her that this soup was one she had eaten nearly every day during her childhood in Russia, before she had moved to America.
She took the simple spoon from the table in her hand, shiny from its many uses, and quietly brought some of the borscht to her mouth, liquid dripping from the spoon. It was thin, and had no particular taste… the beets and celery and potatoes and tomatoes mixed together along with numerous spices to create a specific flavor you wouldn’t find anywhere else. It wasn’t the most delicious soup she had ever tasted… but it somehow filled her stomach with warmth, and she continued to eat.
But it was different. It wasn’t the same borscht her mother had made when she was growing up, and her own attempt paled in comparison. It looked the same, smelled the same… but she couldn’t taste the effort, the familiarity, or the love that had gone into each and every pot of her mother’s soup. She gripped her spoon tightly in her fist. It wasn’t the same, and it was never the same, no matter how many times she tried to replicate it. This was one of the few memories she had of her mother, one that was slowly slipping away. She shoved another spoonful into her mouth and chewed, vaguely registering that her vision had become blurry and her cheeks were wet with tears that dripped down her chin and into the soup. She forced herself to chew some more as she hunched over the bowl of soup, chest tightening painfully as she sobbed quietly in the darkness of the kitchen.