Let Them Eat Pancakes

Let Them Eat Pancakes
I raised my hand and suddenly, life changed. “What the hell were you thinking?” Gary said when I got home. At a meeting, during that awkward silent moment when the facilitator asked for a volunteer and everyone else faked looking at their cellphones, my hand shot up. Wait, what did I just do? I could have looked at my cellphone — there must have been something I needed to see, text, or search. But instead, I volunteered. It’s been a long time since I’ve acted on that impulse, and before I had a chance to change my mind, my affirmative hand gesture was entered into the meeting minutes. Being noted in PTO minutes, I imagine, is no different from having a grave transgression on your Permanent Record — the stain every middle school student fears. I couldn’t change my mind; it was done. My new job is to head up the end-of-year breakfast for my daughter’s eighth-grade class at school. Five hundred kids want pancakes, sausage, donuts, and fruit parfaits. They wanted frappuccinos too, but thankfully, school policy forbids it. No one needs to see a bunch of 14-year-olds jacked up on caffeine. Before cancer, volunteering was a regular part of my life. As a little girl, I candy-striped at a local old folks home. My mom would drop my sister and me off for a few hours on weekends, and we delivered fresh water and magazines to people who rarely saw youthful skin. I remember one oldster stroking my cheek with bony fingers and wondering what the big deal was. “They lo
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