You held my hand. You didn’t have to. I’d been swimming for two decades, gone to this lake during summers growing up. There was no reason to be scared. But I was.
Scared and excited. And with you.
I shook and smiled. It was too dark to see the bottom. Your hand was warm. Warmer than I thought it would be.
We jumped. Feet pushing off the dock, metal leaving indentations in our skin.
The water was warm. Warmer than I thought it would be.
And, unfortunately for you, shallower than you thought it would be. How is your ankle? Still sore?
We got acclimated to the water, the waves, the seaweed, the sand. Swimming. It had been one year for me. Two for you.
I dove under, came up for air. You swam out further, bobbed and buoyed. Floating apart and coming back together, over and over. Talking, playing, loving.
You held me, supported my back as I floated, your arms still in the moving water, palms flat on my back. I was nervous, unskilled. I’d never mastered this part in swim lessons. I didn’t want to sink. You steadied me, spun me. Slowly. We kissed. You didn’t let go until I was ready, certain.
I was free. For the first time in weeks. Happy to hear the sound of my own breath beneath the water. In, out. In, out.
I don’t know what it’s like to love someone with depression, I’m sorry you’ve had to learn.
The clouds came, your eyes turning grey with the sky. But it never opened up, never rained. You explained why. Why that lake saved us from so many storms. You were detailed, descriptive. Talking with your hands, you lifted your arms, opening up. My heart followed suit. Swallows swooped overhead, catching a late dinner.
I knew then what you had asked my dad. I knew what you were going to ask me. I knew what I was going to say.
Now, everyone else knows too.
Just like that day on the dock, you held my hand. Just like our time in the water, you steadied me. Just like the lake itself, you protected me from storms.
We shook and smiled.
The ring was warm. Warmer than I thought it would be.
These pancakes are not fancy. They are not world shaking or groundbreaking. But, these pancakes are good. The best. Just like you. They are effortless, quality. Just like you. Topped with syrup and berries from your farm, they are warm, sweet, and delightful. Just like you. They are filled with love. Just like you.
These pancakes were your request. One morning, over shared coffee in bed.
Buttermilk Pancakes with Fresh Berries
2 cups all-purpose flour
¼ cup sugar
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. kosher salt
2 cups whole milk buttermilk
1 egg, at room temperature
4 TBSP unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp. vanilla extract
¼ tsp. lemon extract
In a large mixing bowl whisk together flour, sugar, baking soda, powder, and salt.
In a separate bowl (or large measuring cup), whisk together the buttermilk, egg, melted butter, and extracts. Pour into dry ingredients and whisk until only a few lumps remain.
Allow the batter to rest while the pan heats.
Place a large skillet over medium heat and spray with cooking spray (or use one of those fancy schmancy griddles). Using a half cup measure scoop batter onto pan and cook until bubbles appear over surface and begin to pop, about two minutes. Flip and cook for another minute or two on the opposite side.
Remove to platter and place in oven to keep warm while the rest of the batter is prepared.
Serve with pure maple syrup and fresh berries from your fiancés farm, if desired.
*Recipe makes roughly a dozen pancakes using 1/2 cup measure.