The college session is over and we plan to write together during the Christmas holiday. Here is vhapter 25 in the meantime, in time for Christmas!
My life so far, episode 15: Breakfast with mom
Letters : 11538 Words : 2206
The morning after the medical talk, it's raining and Julie and her mother get breakfast. A bonding mother-daughter moment.
I woke up before my parents. The light from the sun wasn't really blocked by the cheap drape in the window. The lack of AC didn't help!
My parents had accidently (or voluntarily) kicked their sheets off the bed, and my mother was sleeping, cubbled half of top of my father, holding him.
I looked at them for a little while. Soon, my hormones would probably kick in and I would feel something, but right now, all I thought was that perhaps, I wanted a good relationship like theirs.
I gently left the bed, and the cabin. I had to pee, but there was a common sanitary block close by.
As I arrived, I was shocked to find that it was unisex, but then again, we entered and left in the nude, so why bother building two sets of showers and toilets?
When I got in, a woman, about 25, was showering, without bothing to close the drape. She saw me and waved, but then returned to washing her hair.
I did close the door for the little cubicle for the toilet. Being nude was one thing, using the toilet in public was another.
Outside however, small drops of water were beginning to fall. It has been dark despite the sun being up, but now, some rain is starting.
I normally hate the rain, but it was rather warm and the droplets were helping me cool down.
Barefoot, the sand was barely starting to muddle and I cursed myself for once again forgetting a towel.
I walked back to our cabin, but something clicked in my mind. I had no clothes to wet. The only thing that wouldn't be dried instantly by a towel, was my hair.
In the grass by the cabin, I decided to just embrace the rain opening my arms to welcome it.
It was getting heavier, and I was all wet, but somehow, it didn't feel that bad.
It's only when the rain picked up and then, when I saw, but didn't hear, the first flash of lighting I got inside.
I picked up my towel, next to my bed, and began drying myself which apparently woke my mother up.
"Oh, Hi Kiddo, you went out?", she says, with a low voice so as not to wake up my father.
"To the toilet"
"We have one", she said, smiling
"Didn't want to wake you up"
"Aww, nice of you. Want breakfast?"
"Let's go to the restaurant, mother and daughter"
"Mom, it's raining outside"
"Let's take the car, you can sit in the front", she says, all conspiracy-like.
She grabs her purse, two small towels she puts in it, and two fresh bath towels she puts in a plastic bag, and two more that she gives me, in another bag. Better safe than sorry, she whispers.
We ran to the car, each putting one of our towels on the seats.
I never get to sit in front. I was too little before, and since then, well, my parents usually come with me.
"I should have worn shoes", she says, after starting the car.
"Will you be ok?"
"Yeah", she says, winking at me.
It feels weird to have the belt on my skin, but she insists.
As she drives to the resort restaurant, the rain slows down, enough that we barely get wet walking from the car to the interior.
"That's not good news", she says. Looking outside
"Look at the rain. When it's that light, it can last all day, and the wind slowed down too"
"I saw lighting"
"I think we are on the outskirts."
"We are playing a video game today anyway"
"What?", I ask
"You are coming to naturist resort to stay inside"
"Hey, I spent most of yesterday outside"
"I know, I am kidding. But our bike ride is off"
"We were going again to the creek?", I said, surprised. My mom said nothing
"Oh, no, kiddo, just your dad and I"
"Ah, like date night",I replied, understanding
"Oh no, nothing weird. Just fun outdoors. Your dad isn't just my husband and business partner. He is also my best friend, you know? And sometimes, we want to do things as best friends"
I look at her. I think I can understand that.
We look inside. The place is EMPTY!
"Is it even open?" I ask
"You know, I didn't check. Let's go check inside."
But the chef was there, and he was happy to see us.
"I didn't think I'd have a client this early! What can I serve you ladies?", he says
"Could we have a menu? It's our first time at this diner. Well, in years"
"Then it is your first time. I revamped the menu 3 years ago, from the ground up. You'll find that it's no longer that predatory in prices", he says, winking at us.
He grabs two sheets of paper from next to the cash register, which are just printed on a computer, but on both sides.
I get one, my mother gets the other.
We scan and the prices don't tell me much.
"Oh, I have fresh banana bread cooling off, if you each want a slice, I can serve you when it ready"
My mother looks at the menu, and we both see it's $1 per slice.
"We'll take three, one to go"
I have no idea what to take, but my mother picked two eggs, scrambled, bacon, toasts and a coffee.
"Can I have the same?", I asked my mother
"Yes, give her the same, but an orange juice instead of a coffee"
He rings everything at the cash register, and my mother gives him a $20 bill, but tells him to keep the change, which makes him happy.
Anyway, I guess she included a tip? Of course, even today, I have no idea what the actual price was. I wasn't money wise yet and wouldn't be for years.
"How are you holding up from the news yesterday, kiddo?"
"Actually good, It helps me feel better about myself, now that I know that there might be an explanation to why I am, well, you know"
My mother explains how she got her first period at age 15, but she had her breast a little earlier than I did, but later than her friends. Perhaps, just perhaps, it was her fault.
"Of course, I wasn't a naturist, so I couldn't compare much."
We got our drinks first. My mother began on her coffee right away, but I prefer to end with my juice.
"You aren't grumpy without coffee in the morning?", I say
"Not everyone gets caffeine withdrawal. And then again, I never take more than one coffee per day, and never any more caffeine after that cup"
I look at her.
"I often see you have coffee in the afternoon, no?"
"Ah, that's decaf. Coffee without caffeine in it"
"Doesn't that defeat the purpose?", I ask, as our plates are delivered.
"Kiddo, we don't just drink coffee for the caffeine. Most of us love the taste. If you see someone, like me, who drinks it black, which means no sugar or cream"
"I know what black means, Mom"
"Right. When you see one drinking it, it's either because it has no calories, or because they enjoy the taste"
"But it smells horrible", I say, revolted.
"Want to taste it?", she says, offering me her cup
"Just a sip"
I look at her. She is serious
I grab the handle, turn it around as her right is my left, and just take one sip.
It's rather hot.
"It tastes so bitter. I think it tastes worse than it smells", I say, putting it back on the table, and pushing it her way.
"I used to think the same as you did, kiddo. But I learned to like it"
"So why did you even start?"
"You know kiddo, that is a very good question. I guess peer pressure is a part of it. The desire to feel more adult is another. And then, when you start the energy it gives you, without the calories"
I look at her and can almost feel a little of vulnerability, of shame.
Perhaps I should say something about my mother at this point.
I soon (but not enough to be soon in this memoir) learned that she is very, very vulnerable to peer pressure. It's why she broke up with my father a few times, it's why it was so easy to become a naturist, why she became a sous-chef despite not caring about cooking, and why she drank coffee.
That weekend, I had a lot of important lessons, and not just my rules of cool. I can trace back a lot of my relationship patterns to that weekend, from how my parents were together, to the interactions between Lucy and Carter, passing by Mindy's parents who became good role models for me, notably in how they show how clearly they love each other. Even more than my parents do.
In fact, I was more aware then previously in my life and it helped me form a stronger sense of what I need in a relationship.
In all cases, this breakfast with me, where my dad didn't just serve her coffee without her asking for it, was a sort of wake up call, and a few months later, she switched to chicory coffee which is an herbal substitute, and even later, stopped that too.
We ate, and it was well cooked. The bacon was perfectly crispy like I love it, the eggs were runny, something I always hated, but then, my mother did something I didn't expect.
She cut a little strip from her toasts, and soaked up the liquid yolk of the egg and ate the toast.
I looked at her like she was an alien, but she encouraged me to do the same.
Hesitant, I did so, with my buttered toast. Crumbs were getting everywhere, but I was surprised there were none on me.
I dragged the toast on the disgusting yellow part, and with hesitation, put it in my mouth.
Like a goddamn savage.
It touched my mouth, and my eyes opened wide. It's like there was an explosion in my mind.
Somehow, wires touch in my brain.
I heard my mom say, pumping her fist. "F*ck yeah"
I swallowed and said. "Mom", in a disapproving tone. After Lucy complained about much tamer words, seeing my mom say such a big swear word was a shock.
"You have my taste buds, not your dads! Julie, we have to make you try more food"
"Your dad is a fussy eater and doesn't like a lot of food, but I am a foodie who loves almost everything, including some weird stuff. What we just did, if we did it in front of your dad, he would go puke in the f*cking bathroom"
"Mom.. your language"
"Don't you see it? The load off my shoulders! You were a picky eater, nothing had to touch anything else, like your dad, and now, you see"
"I don't see anything mom"
"Oh, you and I, kiddo, will get to discover food like it was meant to be discovered", she said, winking at me.
And guess what? As an adult, I believe her. It took me a while. But I mean, I buy oysters on my own, I have about 12 bottles of hot sauce in my pantry, and my friends are worried about the weird fruits I put in my salads. What, you've never seen carambole fruit in a salad? That's the yellow star fruit. Every so often, my mom and I go out to eat out in various ethnic restaurants, just her and me.
"So why wouldn't you eat the ribs then?"
"Because I like good ribs, not approximations of them. Grandpa, my dad, used to make wings that deserved awards and then, I had to eat burnt half cooked and drowning in weird sauce ribs? I'll eat almost anything, but I have taste buds", she says.
The banana bread was delicious, but I'll be serious, it tasted like sandpaper compared to Clara's, but it would take me years to taste it, a few more to get the recipe and it will mostly like take another decade in the future to get my first batch right.
When we were done, the rain was almost down, so we drove back to the cabin and when we saw that dad was still sleeping, just talked at the nearby picnic table.
I told my mom about the previous evening's pinball and she was rather excited for me and proud of my consistency.
"Kiddo, a lot of people will focus on skill, on luck, but the secret to success is consistency. You might make a best cake in the world, but if it's only every 40 attempts, you ain't much of a cook"
I look at her. It makes sense.
"I think you are growing, maturing a lot, I mean, regardless of puberty, and I am proud of you, kiddo"
I gently got closer and she hugged me, and it felt good, even if there were a few droplets of water on us.