The girl sat on the M train into to the city – surprised at how quiet it was for a Monday morning. She had just kissed her parents goodbye for the second last time. They were staying in her apartment for two final nights before flying back to Australia. Add the flight time with the drive to their remote cattle property, and they lived 30 hours from her. She shuddered at the thought. It was her first day back at work after two glorious weeks road tripping with her whole family in Canada. Apart from the odd argument over which was the best bagel topping – it was one of the most joyous times she could recall, and she was lamenting the return to normalcy and routine, taking it out on her new book - a gift from her brother's girlfriend. Page turn after page turn she felt her face getting hot. A single tear rolled down her cheek and dripped off her chin, quickly lost to the words below.
The pre-recorded train voice sounded Flushing Avenue – and she looked up to see a very trendy looking girl get on and walk right over and sit next to her. She was wearing a beige satin suit with matching flowing pants and button up top and a black swirling pattern. On anyone else they would have looked like pyjamas – but on her they were glorious. The girl often felt self conscious that after moving to New York she no longer actually owned any legitimate pyjamas. Sometimes she wore old dresses she didn’t really like to bed, or big shirts she’d steadily pilfered off her short string of ex-boyfriends - nothing that was designated sleepwear by any means. The girl in the satin smelled faintly of patchouli, but something not quite as offensive. Her long blonde hair was tousled – intentionally unintentional – and even when the train snaked underground, she made no plans to remove her sunglasses.
The girl went back to her book, but noticed she had misplaced her bookmark. She figured it was probably just under the grey backpack on her lap, or perhaps she’d put it in the back of her book. Either way, it shouldn’t have been cause for concern. But as the train trundled on, so too did her sense of panic. She started searching for it, casually at first so as not to cause a scene, and then frantically. She scrambled through her bag, lifted it over her head and shuffled the pages of her book like a stack of cards. The bookmark had been her dad’s plane ticket back from Toronto. If she didn’t have her parents, or her dad’s old plane ticket, or even a pair of goddamn pyjamas, what, then, did she have? She found the ticket on the floor under the nude Birkenstock of the girl in the patterned pyjamas just in time to make it out the door at her stop.
That night the family went to a Polish restaurant in Greenpoint for their last dinner. The whole place was wooden, with candles and the kind of authenticity that comes only with first generation migrants. They shared wine and anticipated what each of the dishes may be like. The girl watched in awe as her mother, her best friend, conversed effortlessly with the Polish waitress. All the girl had ever really bothered to learn was how to call someone a big onion head, and she had regretted not trying harder. They ordered pierogi to start – potato and cheese, meat, and sauerkraut and mushroom. They got some fried and some boiled. They debated which one was the best, but the girl liked the sauerkraut and mushroom, boiled. One thing they could agree on was that everything tasted exactly like the pierogi’s the girl’s babcia made her growing up – to which they all nodded approvingly. They talked deeply and easily about life, their goals, their pasts and their vulnerabilities. As they laughed and hugged and scooped bits of food off each other’s plates, the girl realised that even though she didn’t have pyjamas and that her parents lived very far away, she still had quite a lot really.
- 1.5 cups white flour
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ cup warm water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 small sweet potatoes
- 1 tablespoon korma curry
- ½ cup Greek yoghurt
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- For the dough, combine flour, water, olive oil and salt in a large bowl before kneading together on a floured surface. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, peel and boil the sweet potato until it’s super tender. Strain and mash together with the curry paste. Stir through ½ the lime juice.
- Using a cookie cutter or a cup, cut the dough into circles.
- Place a spoonful of the mashed potato in the centre. Wet one edge of the circle with water using your finger, before folding over and sticking together. Press together with a fork.
- Place each pierogi in boiling water and cook until they float to the surface.
- Meanwhile, combine Greek yoghurt with remaining lime juice.
- Strain pierogi before flash frying in a super hot oiled pan. Serve topped with yoghurt and optional lime.