The day after my 29th birthday I began a 20.5 hour plane ride to Jakarta, Indonesia.
My last hours in Houston were exquisite and filled with childhood tastes. Instead of going out to celebrate when I would need to begin an arduous journey the next morning, I opted to hang out with my parents.
The original plan was to attend a Houston favorite, the Black-owned Breakfast Klub. With a Black Greek organization in town though, the line wrapped the building. Refusing to wait no matter how good the catfish and grits was, my parents and I drove up the road (re: a Houston highway) to The House of Pies, a Houston classic. There’s something about a good diner with a bad website that screams Americana and gets all of my sentimentality flowing.
After eating waffles hidden beneath not the freshest of blueberries, a slice of turtle cheesecake, and Lord knows what else, I reminded my mom we had to swing by Dan’s Vitamin House. Literally a vitamin shoppe that happens to sell the best banana and vanilla smoothies in Houston, my family’s been going there since before my days of long division and complete sentences.
Vanilla and banana milkshake in hand, I needed one more sweet to round out the day: oatmeal cookies from Three Brothers Bakery. Holocaust survivors, the Jucker Brothers opened their very first Three Brothers bakery down the road from where I lived until I was seven.
Honestly, I’d forgotten about the soft, chewy oatmeal cookies with just the right amount of butter and cinnamon. When I bit into one of these masterpieces, I remembered white cake boxes to carry my mom’s favorite carrot cake from the shop, my brother standing at the counter to make a request, and my Dad eating “just one more oatmeal cookie.”
I remembered my childhood.
I enjoyed the cookies so much my mom ordered half a dozen so I could take some on my plane ride from Houston to Tokyo (they barely made it Tokyo).
After getting a birthday massage, a mani/pedi, and my eyebrows done as a way to relax before The Big Move, my dad insisted that we went out to eat again, this time to Pappadeaux. Naturally, I ate the free slice of chocolate cake that was brought out for my birthday.
And with the last bite, I thanked my city for years of beautiful memories, for if everything goes according to plan it’ll be a year before I see it again.