Yaya’s Potatoes


The potatoes are different now.

They’re close, with enough salt, but the ratio of tomato sauce is off.

It’s a holiday – maybe Thanksgiving, or New Year’s Day – and I am sitting at the edge of the table, the youngests’ seat. I share the corner with my brother, though neither of us is very young anymore. On the other side of the table, Papou stares from behind his aviator frames, resting atop a thick mustache and a smile. Next to him, Yaya watches plates gather on the tablecloth, eyes vacant as if she is on the other side of a great divide.

Once upon a time, she would have been behind the stove. She made excellent soup, and the potatoes were my favorite. Since then, the thing eating her brain has swallowed the recipe, so my dad has inherited the apron.

If I could speak the language of my ancestors, Yaya and I would be good friends. Before, we communicated through broken English, the creak of the swing set, and crumpled ice cream wrappers, but now I say the only words I know, the most important ones: se agapó polý.

In Greek, that translates to: I love you a lot.

Alaina Triantafilledes is a sophomore in the Renee Crown Honors Program. She is on track to major in Creative Writing along with Writing and Rhetoric. Outside of class, she attends Write Out, the campus creative writing club, and also does undergraduate research to sponsor local reading series and writing workshops. Hopefully, all of this literary preparation will lead her to an editorial career and a freelance writing contract!