And she was in bitterness of soul

The pie crust

Hannah presses the rolling pin against the dough one more time. In her head, she’s already tossing out the wadded the failure.


She looks accusingly at the sky through her kitchen window. Her pie crusts are always perfect. What’s making them fail today?

She tosses the rolling pin aside. It hits the tile of the backsplash with a thud, then falls quiet next to the tub of Crisco.

Pie crusts are a point of pride. Like happy marriage, honor-roll children, best recipes, the well-appointed yet lived-in home…

Hannah has perfected domestic bliss, but this morning, the pie crust…

“There will be no crust!” Hannah announces to the kitchen as she wads her third attempt and begins wiping away the evidence of effort and failure.

Crustless quiche

Hannah’s husband and four children aim polite smiles towards her, but Hannah sees the judgment in the cock of their heads as they aim their forks towards the absent crust, unaware of Hannah’s tortured journey though a future of crustless, imperfect days.

  • crustless apple
  • crustless lemon meringue
  • crustless blueberry

She’ll commit her future to less challenging cobblers, muffins, and brownies.

“Are you going to join us, hon?” Doug asks.

What will Doug say?

But Hannah knows what he’ll say. She chooses to linger alone another day in an imagined future, where the spatula is replaced by a laser pen, the oven a projector, the kitchen a boardroom, the dining table of polite family a table of fierce faces looking for that crack in her crust.

“I’m not hungry,” Hannah answers as she places her famous blueberry-spinach salad on the table, knowing they’re too polite to point out the imperfectly missing feta and almonds. Will they taste the bitterness in the vinaigrette?

Lines of bitterness

Hannah pops the trash can lid open with her foot and spies the two red lines | | , glaring at her through the darkness, riddled with consequence and expectation.

I see you, Hannah moans to herself, then drops the failed dough, pushing the lines deep into the darkness.

Will she keep it to herself? Will this be the first real secret, a secret bigger than her quiet longings for audience and significance?

Hannah clears the counter and puts away all the pans and whisks.

I just need one more day, she whispers into the bitterness.

©Pennie Nichols. All Rights Reserved. 2022.

I’m writing a series of novels: the Seeking Scylla series. Some characters dance on the edges of the narratives. Some never make it in. In Beyond Scylla blogs, I share stories and vignettes about these characters.