My sister bakes cookies.

One night, I was staying at my sister’s new home in Utah, when I wandered upstairs for a midnight snack. The house was dark, save for the well-lit kitchen. The lights concentrated on my sister, Bethany, while she concentrated on cookies. Flour coated her cheek, mostly just a light layer of dust except for one thick stripe along her cheekbone. She had her hair pulled in a messy bun, potential flyaways tamed by a small, stretchy headband. She’s short and her counter is tall. She pounded and rolled cookie dough from a giant mound she’d been working on for hours while the Game of Thrones played in the background. I get to see her all the time, but she struck me then as particularly beautiful.

It was a long day of pounding, rolling, baking, cooling, and frosting. She was methodical, unnettled by the noise around her, and perfectly in-the-zone. Tray after tray, she completed Father’s Day Cookies, her little business which has earned her the affectionate title from friends and neighbors as “The Cookie Lady.” If Bethany wants new boots, Bethany makes cookies, but she makes cookies on her own terms: These are the patterns she will make, this is when she will make them, this is when you will come pick them up, this is what you will pay. She builds it, and they come. They come because there’s a Bethany sort of beauty baked into the dough.

She bakes her cookies soft so your teeth slides through them with a satisfying squish. They’re beautiful. They bring people joy. They represent hours and hours of dedicated labor. She doesn’t get stressed by the state of her kitchen or the flour on her cheek. She builds and creates and makes the world taste good.

I like Bethany’s cookies, because Bethany is like her cookies.

Happy birthday, to my best friend, Bethany! I love you.