On Bread and Comfort
by Jasmine Ng
“I’m making sourdough,” says my friend, and I think of the microbial magic working ever so slowly on wheat flour. The chewing, the digesting, the farting—all the stuff we hate to see coming from ourselves creating a food we love so much. I feel less lonely, I think, when I imagine the same kinds of little creatures on my skin, in my gut. I have never been alone. If only I could talk to the creatures who populate my body. Do they enjoy their stay on the little planet that is me?
My cat sinks her claws rhythmically into the duvet I bury myself under. “Are you making bread too?” I ask. She doesn’t answer. She only looks at me with half-lidded eyes. She is performing an action deeply programmed in her, an action of childhood comfort. Massaging out the milk from a mother’s stomach. To me, it is the same as the human instinct to make bread.
I haven’t made any bread so far, being a novice baker. But I do feel the call. Create something good, it says, despite all the bad. So instead of bread, I produce words. I weave them and spool them and twist-tuck-knot them for later. I do not know what I save them for, but the instinct is there to preserve me. I am shoring up my Self in those words, like jars of honey or cans of beans. Sustenance for a later date, a harsher time. Not unlike my friend making bread, I think. Not unlike my cat kneading the blanket. Whatever brings in the comfort.