Like mother – Like daughter

“GPS says 10 hours 23 minutes.”

“Okay, let’s get on the road,” I mumble from inside my purse. “Let’s go through Tim’s drive-thru to grab breakfast.”

“Which one?” Sasha asks.

“The one on King St. by Ange’s house,” I snip as if she should know, as if there couldn’t be any other Tim’s on the way to the highway. “Sorry. I’m stressed. Let’s go.”

“I’m not sure where that is. I’ll follow you,” Sasha decides and heads out the door with an armload of hanging clothes, the last of her belongings going back to school.

It was early and the roads were empty. No line at the drive through.

I don’t think I want a combo. I haven’t liked the hash browns recently. Too greasy.

But I’m hungry. Who knows when we will stop for lunch? I could just get two breakfast sandwiches.

I roll my window down.

“Two beyond-sausage breakfast sandwiches please,” I order. “With egg and cheese. On a biscuit.”

Should I quickly text Sasha that I’m getting two breakfast sandwiches? Will she be mad that I got two? She would probably want two if she knew that’s what I was ordering. But there really isn’t time to text her.

I’ll just save half of my second one. She can eat it when we stop at the border.

I pull forward to pay.

******

What? Did I just hear Mom order two breakfast sandwiches? She’s never done that.

Wait, is she getting a hash brown and two sandwiches?

Maybe I should get two sandwiches? Will that be too much food?

No, I want two sandwiches.

Will the drive-thru attendant think it’s weird if I order two sandwiches right after mom orders two sandwiches? I mean, who orders two sandwiches? And what are the chances it would be two cars in a row? What would they think?

“One beyond sausage breakfast sandwich and a hash brown please,” I order before pulling forward.

Mom’s waiting for me around the corner, taking a bite out of her breakfast sandwich.

She takes off before I can even get mine out of the bag.

Here we go. It is so small.

I should have gotten two.

I’m going to starve before we stop at the border.

******

How can these sandwiches be so good? I’ll be done this first one before we get on the highway.

I’m still hungry.

I should save the second sandwich for when we stop. Maybe Sasha will want some. I’ll hide it under my purse so I’m not tempted.

******

Mom just balled up her sandwich wrapper. She’s already done? We aren’t even on the highway yet. I’ve barely had a bite of mine.

Is she going to eat the second one?

It doesn’t look like it. Good. Hopefully she is saving it for us to share.

I should have gotten two breakfast sandwiches.

******

That sandwich smells so friggin’ good. We still have an hour to the border and I am soooooo hungry. Why didn’t I bring a banana?

I bet the cheese is perfectly melted on that sandwich.

I reach under my purse and feel the wrapper is still warm.

It will be cold by the time we stop at the border. I should just eat it now and enjoy it.

The melted cheese makes the wrapper impossible to unfold with one hand. I use my teeth to pull the paper off the sandwich and take a bite. Hmmmm….. still warm.

I check in the rearview mirror. Sasha is several cars behind me. There is no way she can see me eating.

This is a mess. I use my teeth to pull down the paper, exposing the juicy faux-sausage, egg, and buttery biscuit. Melted cheese cover my lips.

Before I know it, I am at the bottom of the wrapper. There is just one mouthful of luscious yumminess left. Unable to bite it, I drop the wrapper into my lap. I reach into the bottom and pop it into my mouth.

 So…perfectly…delicious.

 I didn’t save any for Sasha.

 It’s okay. I’m sure she had enough to eat. She wouldn’t want to eat half a cold breakfast sandwich anyhow.

******

 Mom is still in front and we are almost at the border.

 Miraculously I haven’t fainted from hunger. Yet.

 I can’t wait for that breakfast sandwich. I’m sure mom saved me some. Right?

 Yes, of course she would save me some. She wouldn’t have gotten two just for herself.

******

Bathroom break at the border. Sasha pulls in and parks alongside me.

I gather the breakfast sandwich wrappers in the Tim’s bag to throw away.

Should I mention that I had two breakfast sandwiches? If I don’t say anything, am I lying? Keeping a secret? It seems sneaky.

But I didn’t save her any. What if she is super hungry and gets mad I didn’t save her some?

How can my brain spend so much time thinking about a stupid breakfast sandwich? It isn’t a big deal. We each got our own breakfast and we don’t even need to talk about it. Just let it be.

******

Should I ask mom about the breakfast sandwich or wait for her to say something?

If I ask her, she might think I was spying on her.

And it’s not mom’s job to buy me extra breakfast.

I’m old enough to order my own breakfast and if I didn’t get enough, to suffer the consequences.

 I should have gotten two sandwiches.

 I really hope mom saved me some of hers.

 I’ll see if she says anything.

  I won’t ask her.

******

  “Hi sweet Sasha,” I smile. “How’s the drive going?”

  “Good so far. I’m glad we left early,” Sasha replies as we walk into the duty free  building. I throw my Tim’s bag into the recycling bin. Sasha does the same.

 “Did you have enough breakfast?” I ask.

  “Yes, it was fine. Thanks.”

 “Good. Me too,” I agree. “Should we stop at the first rest area over the border for lunch?”

 “Sure. That sounds good,” Sasha agrees.

 She reaches out and we walk hand-in-hand to the washroom. Me and Minnie-me.



Lost and Found

Last night
You came back
Alive.
I smothered your face
In tears,
Drank your eyes,
Wove my fingers
Through your wiry curls.
Cheek to cheek,
Foreheads kissing,
Scent gathering,
I brushed against your lips
and melted.
Then you were gone.

Fever Broke

A snap of clarity,
Crisp snow melting,
Lone goose pecking,
Me walking
Down a road I know,
Alone.
She crunches grass popsicles,
Fashions a snow nest,
Shudders in sleepy
Dreams of ancestral warmth.
I Work, Parent,
     Cook, Clean,
          Sleep, Wake,
                Step, forward
Burying your spritely smile,
Shedding the shroud
Of asphyxiating longing,
Stepping into the new normal,
Day 145.

Fear and Loathing in the Driveway

I am hiding at Vincenzo’s, shaking at the café counter in long coat and wool hat, willing away the adrenalin. Today, two weeks since the van died, I faced my fear and called CAA. So many paralyzing what-ifs. What if the mechanic asks me to open the hood and I can’t? What if they ask for exact symptoms, dates, what we’ve tried and when, and I can’t remember? What if the car suddenly starts and I look like an idiot? What if they ask me to ride along in the tow truck and the driver is a serial killer?

I warned Sam I’d wake him up for moral support and raced upstairs as soon as I made the call. “Hurry, I just called. They could be here soon.” He rolled over and groaned. I rushed back downstairs and by the time Sam got outside I had put the dog on the backyard lead and was talking with the mechanic.

“It’s a dead battery,” they insisted. “It is very common in this kind of deep freeze.”

“But we just got a new battery. And there is no electric at all, no lights on the dash when we turn the key,” I explained as Sam came up behind me. “Here – clear the snow off please,” I ordered, more harshly than intended, handing off a long handled brush/scraper combo.

“Well, let me try to charge it and see if I can get it started. I’ll get the cables while you clear the snow,” the mechanic decided.

“Okay,” I muttered to their back and then said to Sam, “Izzy is barking like crazy. I’m going to put her back inside. Keep clearing off the snow please.” Sam paused to give me a blank look before turning back towards the van.

Remembering I didn’t have my CAA card, I ran back inside. A moment later, the mechanic was nowhere to be found. “Why are you taking so long?” I asked Sam for no apparent reason.

He paused again, dropped his shoulders. “Seriously?”

“Sorry, I don’t know why I said that.”

I raced down our tiny backyard hill calling “Come on Izzy. Inside. Inside.” Why was I running? Why was I shouting? I fumbled to unhook her, and while running back up the hill tripped over my own boots and landed face down. The light poufy snow exploded, showering me with a cold mist. “Shit!” I struggled to stand. “Izzy pulled me down!” I insisted, lying to myself and anyone else who was listening.

I brushed snow off my pants and out of my boots, shook off my hat. I was prepared to laugh at myself, but Sam’s eyes met me so full of embarrassment, scorn, and disdain that any lightheartedness was instantly smothered. I said nothing, turned, and walked the dog inside.

After drying off Izzy and myself, I went back out to watch the mechanic work under the hood. Alongside Sam I stood with skittish legs, clenched hands, disembodied gaze. “What are you doing? Why do you look like that?” Sam asked, and I never hated myself more than in that moment.

Follow Me

Once I saw a bright red cardinal perched among the leafless branches against a clear, crisp, bright-blue sky. He looked down at me, tilted his head, and jumped to a lower branch. He looked at me again and then flew to the next tree down the street. I followed.

I was on my way downtown and knew this game couldn’t last for long, but I paused under the next tree. I tilted my head this way and that and spied the cardinal high up in the tree’s crown. Unable to see where he was looking, I patiently waited and quietly coaxed him down lower. Then I spotted his mate flying over from a tall pine or possibly from my neighbor’s snow-covered roof. She was small and fair, her blush feathers visible only in flight. She weightlessly alighted on the next tree down the street, and the red cardinal immediately flew to join her. I followed.

It was less than ten paces to the next tree, but by the time I arrived neither cardinal was visible. On the sparsely tree-lined city street I would have seen them take flight. Somewhere amidst the tangled branches they playfully hid in plain sight. I watched and waited for movement. The sounds of city traffic faded to the background as I listened for a flutter of wings or rustle of branches. After some time, I walked on.

Friend

soft, golden
curled up chilling

head down
eyebrows shifting

birds chirp
ears perk
sigh leaks
stair creaks

fur bounding
legs pounding
tail swinging
tags ringing

fierce licks
body wiggling

feet up
tummy trembling

One

You fit
perfectly
holding me tight
wordlessly

Your breath
rhythmically
rooting my soul
effortlessly

Your limbs
naturally
entwining my boughs
securingly

Your soul
mindlessly
invading my core
peacefully

We lay
motionlessly
blooming as one
meant to be