I sit on my wobbly old stool at grandma's kitchen table, eating my pecan pie in a plastic bowl with a plastic spoon. Grandma doesn't like to wash dishes anymore, so she always has plastic on hand. Not very environmentally friendly, but it saves me the job of cleaning up after everyone, so I'm not complaining.
Very few thoughts run through my head. My mind is focused on the pie in the bowl. I eye which sections have the most cinnamon coated nuts, cutting around those bits to save them for last. You can't eat pecan pie from tip to crust -- you've gotta save the best parts and eat them slowly.
A voice cuts through my contemplation, and I look up to see grandma sitting across from me. I don't know how long she's been talking, and I feel a little bad for not paying better attention. Eating pecan pie is a serious business. It requires a lot of concentration -- clearly I was doing a good job.
I listen to her talk for a few minutes, about Christmas angels made out of dish towels and what she's going to do with all of the cards she gets every year from family members. I smile and nod as I listen, slowly spooning pie across my lips.
Grandma stops talking and studies me for a few seconds. I put my spoon down and look back at her across the table, waiting for her to continue.
"You are very quiet," she says.
I almost fall off of my stool. My bowl hits the tabletop with a soft thump. Pecan pie is now the last thing on my mind as I race to find a reply, but before I can think of anything, I feel my head nodding in agreement.
"Why?" grandma asks.
Again, my body acts before I can speak -- I shrug.
"Hm," grandma huffs, pursing her lips.
She's not happy with my response. My brain is still slow and wanting to get back to the pie. I grasp for anything that will be satisfactory to her, and I hear my voice say, "I just don't have a lot to say. I listen more than I talk."
Grandma just looks at me. Apologetically, I shrug again and quietly say, "I like to listen."
She nods and leaves the table, returning to her genealogy program that is open on her computer screen. I breathe a sigh of relief and pick up my plastic bowl of pecan pie.
I never thought anyone would ever tell me that I'm quiet, I think at the pie, But is it bad if I don't have much to say? Receiving no response from the nuts in the bottom of the bowl, I scoop them out and eat them one by one, savoring the rich, dark, nutty taste and finding security in the fact that pie never talks back.