Patterns and Loss

Our lives are filled with patterns. The clockwork rhythms that we find in nature are recreated in the stop and go of city life. There is a comfort to be found in repetition, it’s familiar and unchanging. And so we live day by day with these patterns, oftentimes forgetting that they’re there. They become background noise to the stresses that accompany the responsibilities of being human. Places, people and activities become obsolete when they are consistently present in our lives. And then, there is a violation of the rules and the pattern falls apart. You lose someone unexpectedly and the world becomes dark. There is no longer a clear path, a groove for life to fit into where you will remain and always return to. It’s then that you realize that life is an anomaly that cannot possibly be categorized as normal, regular or form fitting. Every moment is as unpredictable as the next and there is nothing that one can do to prevent this. This isn’t a free pass to give up and remain frozen in fearful vulnerability; rather, it’s encouragement to embrace life and to live consciously. Life is not to be taken for granted, it is forever moving, forever changing. The sooner we all realize that, the sooner we can begin to discover our interconnectdness and that perhaps we aren’t the center of the universe.

I recently lost one of my closest friends; he was the one person who knew all of my secrets, and I trusted him with the world. With the occurrence of the unexpected, I have been left in shock, incapable of really processing anything that goes on around me. Despite how much I would like for my mind to accept reality, I am quite powerless. It’s an odd feeling, being in denial…I was all too comfortable with the presence of my beautiful and brilliant friend, Ricky, that his absence can’t consciously be recognized. He is my image of perfection; he was simultaneously wise beyond his years, and blithely liberating. I consider myself very lucky to have been blessed with his presence, for I know that I have learned lessons in life from him that others may never encounter. There is, however, a long road ahead of me, and all of those whose hearts he touched, and it certainly isn’t a straight path. To me, there is no pattern or explanation to provide insight into this insurmountable pain, but I can only have faith that there is a way through this.

In honor of Ricky, I made one of his favorite dishes, spaghetti carbonara. While this version is slightly different from the original, it’s a recipe that my dad passed down to me –he is Italian after all…–. It is a very simple dish to make, but is incredibly satisfying for the soul. What I like best about carbonara is the use of eggs to create a creamy sauce. By adding the raw eggs into the hot pasta and bacon, the eggs are cooked, yet keep their runny yolk. I guarantee that you will enjoy this recipe, as it’s easy to tweak to your own preferences and it takes no time at all to whip up a big batch for your family, friends, or just yourself (leftovers are the best!). So, eat and be merry, and may the constants in life never be dull, but gratefully greeted.

Spaghetti Carbonara For Two

8 oz. (1/2 box) spaghetti; two eggs; 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese; 1/3 cup frozen peas; 6 strips of bacon, chopped (pancetta is even better!); 2 tablespoons chopped parsley; 1 teaspoon olive oil; salt and pepper to taste

Bring water to a boil and season with salt. Once water is at a rolling boil, add spaghetti and stir a few times to prevent the pasta from sticking to itself. Heat large pan and add olive oil. When oil is hot, add bacon and cook until slightly crispy and browned. Remove the bacon pan from the heat and add the drained pasta once it is fully cooked. Quickly crack the two eggs on top of the spaghetti and toss with pasta and bacon. Add in the parmesan and peas and continue to toss until everything is completely mixed in. Add the parsley and pepper to taste and then divide among two bowls. Garnish with additional parsley and grated cheese.

Some people insist on whisking the eggs before adding them to the bacon and pasta, but I love the bits of cooked egg that you get when they’re freshly cracked over the pan.

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