about a boy {day 268}

Yes, I’m counting the days again. Panic set in last week, and I’m back to playing that number game. Soon it will be nine months. I know—it made me gasp for breathe too. It seems inconceivable. I find myself staring at his pictures lately, recalling memories, and they seem to have this blurry haze around them. I look at our wedding photo, and think “gee, that girl looks really happy”.

And yet that girl used to be me.

I used to polish my nails sheer white. Now I choose brooding, dark shades of bing cherry.

I used to enjoy writing in utter silence, allowing my mind to focus on my thoughts. Now the silence is deafening. I cook and write, blasting King Crimson at levels that even my 25 year old assistant thinks are insanely loud.

In some odd way, his death is morphing into my rebirth. I was a kid when we met, only 21 years old. Our life together was my discovery phase. I learned how to love and trust. I found my passion, and he held my hand, cheering me every step of the wave.

Regardless of how mature I was when he met me, I became an adult with him. Grew into a woman. Now I have to learn how to be an adult without him, and to trust all over again.

It’s like my system was rebooted from a hard shutdown. You know the kind tech guys tell you not to do, for fear of losing important information—the unsaved changes is how I like to think of them. I survived the major crash of my system, and am in the process of restoring my hard drive.


This is why listening to music has been a total mind fuck since he died. I flip through his vinyl, and wish I had sat down and asked him to tell me the story of each one that he had. When did he buy them? Where did he buy them? What did he think the first time he listened to them?

And why the hell did he have a Lawrence Welk album mingling with Fripp, Eno and Television? This bombshell from the man who I’d swear was Nick Hornby’s inspiration for High Fidelity. Guess you never really know someone, so ladies and gentlemen, keep asking. Keep talking. In all seriousness, there’s always something more to know about the one you love.


Just when I think I’m alone, he sends a reassuring sign. One day it was the J.Peterman catalog coming in the mail, completely unsolicited. The other day it was this flyer from the Guitar Store. Mikey used to keep a polaroid on the corkboard in his apartment back in Astoria of when he dressed up as Slash for a Halloween party, way before we met.


 As many questions as I wish I had answers to, the one thing I knew undoubtedly was Mikey loved anything of the grilled cheese variety. He also loved anything pickled, but you’ll have to wait until the cookbook comes out to get the recipe for those pickled broccoli rabe stems you see pictured here. Today all I have to share is a simple panini of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. It’s a caprese salad tucked between two slices of bread that had then been stroked with a clove of garlic and brushed with a bit of olive oil. The whisper of garlic is just enough to make you raise an eyebrow and think it’s familiar, yet noticeably different, which is exactly how I feel these days.

Caprese Panini

makes one sandwich

Two 1/2-inch thick slices of country bread or pain de mie

Garlic clove, sliced in half

Extra virgin olive oil, for brushing

4 slices of fresh mozzarella cheese

3 slices of very ripe tomato

3 basil leaves

Preheat your panini press.

Meanwhile, lay the bread slices flat on a counter or cutting board. Rub the garlic clove halves, cut-side down, onto the surface of the bread. Brush with a bit of olive oil. Turn the bread slices over to begin assembling the sandwiches.

Place two slices of mozzarella on one slice of bread. Top with the tomatoes and basil. Add the remaining mozzarella. Cover with the remaining slice of bread. Place the sandwich into your panini press and cook according the manufacturer’s directions. Serve immediately.


  • JulieD

    I love caprese sandwiches, Jennie. So beautiful. You write so beautifully, I can feel your emotion and your pain. Huge hugs!!

  • Marisa

    Absolutely amazing post and very well put. I’m feeling it too honey, you speak my every thought.

  • Tina

    Thanks for sharing your journey. I love this combination for grilled cheese sandwich but I’ve never rubbed the bread with garlic. I’ll definitely give it a try.

  • cherie

    I understand not being able to stand the quiet – sigh – but I’m glad you’re finding solutions. Hugs and prayers for you as always

  • Rachel Willen@Foodfix

    Saturday was the 6th anniversary of my mom’s passing…and like you I am freaked out about that time having flown…unbelieving that I could have survived these years without her…love the “reboot” metaphor…perfect.

  • Tracey Alvernaz

    Good Morning Jennie,
    See, you are getting some signs, aren’t you. To me they were very reassuring, at the time I just seemed to need them the most.
    Still hoping and sending good thoughts your way,

  • Maria

    “I found my passion, and he held my hand, cheering me every step of the wave.”
    if that is or is not a typo, its genius, genuine, and very cute, I can actually see Mikey giving you the “wave of approval”!
    you…Jennie Perillo are an amazing woman…you are going to find your mojo again, everyone deserves happiness…

  • Denise @ Creative Kitchen

    Your eloquent words certainly resonate within me. I too have grown into a woman with my husband, and know quite certain I’d be like a ship without an anchor if something were to happen to him. We’ve know each other over half our lives.
    I don’t know how you get to “there” from “here” but I know you’re making your way and doing a damn fine job of it. I’m so glad you have your girls to help illuminate the path. And though none of it makes sense, trust there is a bigger plan that involves giving you hope and a future.
    I keep you and your precious girls in my prayers night and day.
    Denise xoxo

  • Angie @ Big Bear's Wife

    Sometimes I read your posts and I don’t know what to say. I want to say things like “I think that would be an amazing grilled cheese” but then I delete it because I feel like I’m not being sensitive to your amazing blog post, and then I want to type something like ” I wish I could be there to hug you after you wrote this” and then I feel like I’m only reading the sad part. I just want you to know that while I may not comment on everything, I do read everything and I am always looking forward to your posts.

  • Kristen | Pixelated Crumb

    Oooh, I want to put the pickled broccoli rabe stems right in the sandwich…
    On a more serious note, your words, as always, are so eloquently put. If nothing else, you have encouraged me to live and love more powerfully and to take nothing for granted.

  • Sharon in VA

    I feel your pain and your strength. Continue counting days because it helps…

  • robin

    I wonder what your plans are when its one year. It does make me stop and think that I do need to ask questions of my spouse and share much info with my kids too. I wish you well.

  • Diane

    I can feel all of your emotion and your pain in this post yet you still seem so very strong !
    My hubby and I have been together since we were 15 we both grew up together.
    I have had his last name longer then my maiden
    name I would be a fish out of water with out him in my life.
    You are an Incredible Woman Jennie!

  • J Gottlieb

    For you 9 mons ….for me nine years… yet yours words hit a homerun everytime ….thank you

  • Laura

    so, I keep meaning to post. Your words really move me, and I can so relate to your loss. Mine is a different sort of loss. My divorce will be final on Friday, and I feel somehow petty comparing what I am going through, with the anguish of losing your husband, except that- I lost my husband. Just in a different way. I just want you to know that your words really move me, and the way you weave the life you made (via food) to that loss really speaks to me. I hope you feel how many people you have reached, and how many of us are rooting for you.