Doughnuts make me nostalgic, although maybe you’ve noticed by now that a lot of things make me nostalgic. It’s something about how they always taste the same, the way they get stuck under your teeth.
The week before my best friend moved, we went to get ice cream at closing time, and the people behind the counter were cleaning out the doughnut case. We were finishing a cup of coffee Heath Bar, which tastes a lot like caramel, when we heard the best words possible: Does anybody want any doughnuts? As we picked out a chocolate-frosted cream and a cinnamon glazed, we looked at the case, still kind of full. The same thought was running through our minds.
Are you just going to throw those out?
It would be too much of a waste, so much fried sugar and flour, so many sprinkles clinging to now-hardened frosting. We took them all home, each nestled into its own brown wax bag.
The next morning we went to our favorite place by the lake and watched the water. We drove there in the dawn light that reminds me of going to the airport, of leaving the house early to go places with a purpose. There was mist, and the sun was just waiting for the moment when it could turn everything from gray to gold. Sitting and seeing our breath over the water, slick leaves under our feet, we ate the doughnuts, and they stuck to our teeth in that comforting way. As we were running back to the car to make it to school before the second bell, I turned around. Look, I said. Yellow light had burst over the tops of the trees. The rest of the day tasted like sugar.