Magdalene’s Tortillas

It was early morning, the light was just pearly golden and Magdalene was already in the kitchen cooking. Her routine was simple, get up and cook food. I got up at seven and am in the kitchen just in time for the making of tortillas, the food that no meal is complete without. I would drag a chair in off the porch and perch on it in the slightly dim space, drinking my black instant coffee and watching Magdalene mixing one kilo of white flour, agua caliente, vegetable oil and a pinch of baking powder. She would turn to me occasionally and ask about whether Eric and Esther were novios (boyfriend and girlfriend) or if I went to church. A great many topics were breached while the dough was mixed. The minute she started to pinch off and roll balls of the sticky, cream mass I would set aside my coffee and light the stove. The dance which comes is carefully choreographed. Magdalene would roll out the tortilla rounds and I would quickly take two and cook them on the hot griddle. Each tortilla was flipped three times, with my fingertips slightly scorched the first couple of times. Magdalene would look at my nails, exclaim over how short they were and hand me a spatula.