Moving to da’ East (Part 3): My first time eating steak

A hot grill. Cool lemonade that’s sweating with me. I wipe sweat off my forehead. Squinting my eyes to look at the grill. My friend was cooking this steak. One steak. This wasn’t a party. I’m not sure what lead up to this moment, but I remember these next events clearly. Malachi was grilling me a steak on his dad’s grill. The rest of his family were eating inside. We were outside on his patio.

Malachi placed the steak on a dinner plate, and sat it in front of me. I didn’t know how to properly use a knife yet. I stabbed the meat with my fork, and started to chew. This was probably my first time eating steak, too. Maybe that’s why Malachi made it for me.

Kayla’s sister, Kristin, their mother Denise, and Kayla were at an award ceremony for Kristin at Resurrection of Our Lord in New Orleans East.

“Do you always make steak?” I asked with my mouth full.

“Girl, my daddy taught me how to use the grill. I’m always making steak and fish.”

We both laughed as I continued to eat my steak, and he rested on a lawn chair next to me. He took a gulp of his lemonade that was turning into water because the ice was melting.

We were eleven. This is what we did during the summer. I slowly ate the steak that sat in front me. Partially because I never ate it before, and I was trying to determine if I liked it or not.

I didn’t have my bike that day, so my dad was going to walk down the street to get me. It was getting late, and he was coming anytime now. There he was. Starring at me and Malachi as I took the last bite of my steak.

“I made Kayla a steak, Mr. Arnold,” said Malachi with a huge grin on his tiny, brown face.

Mr. Mike, Malachi’s dad, came outside and dapped my dad off. They talked for a brief moment amongst themselves. We couldn’t hear what they were saying, but I imagined my dad was curious as to why Malachi grilled me a steak. Come to find out, my dad was surprised that Malachi made me a steak.

On our walk home, my dad kept laughing at the fact that Malachi grilled something for me. He wasn’t mad at all. He was simply surprised.

“You and Malachi, boy I tell ya,” he laughed some more.

Part 4: Oyster pool party

Editor’s Note: This story is one of a series reprinted from the book A Guide to South Louisiana: Stories of Uncommon Culture. Each author was a student in Rachel Breunlin’s “Storytelling and Culture” course for the Department of Anthropology at the University of New Orleans in the Spring of 2017. The Neighborhood Story Project sponsored the project as part of its mission to publish collaborative ethnography in high quality books in which the authors receive royalties for their creative labor.


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