14: Dinner Disagreement
Have you ever had one of those secrets you were just dying to tell someone? It was so awesome or amazing you just wanted to grab somebody and scream excitably in their face, “Hey, guess what?!!” It’s for that reason when Angela called me on my cell I let it go straight to voicemail. I didn’t trust myself to keep it quiet. Angela could pry anything out of me, so instead I just listened to her message.
“Hey slut, what’s up? You got to give me the dirt. What happened? He is so freaking fine. OMG, you lucky bitch!” Click.
But I didn’t feel lucky. I felt under pressure. I was entrusted with a secret so great it was almost a burden. I was also scared. What did all this mean for me and Haru? We were no longer new neighbors just saying hello. Now every time I said Hi, it would be like saying, ‘I know your secret.’ I mean, I thought he was a vampire from the moment I saw him, but to have him actually admit it was frightening. In the movies that’s when the vampire usually destroys the victim. Is that what I was? His little victim? He hadn’t bitten me or anything, but in a sense I felt like I was his, at least in some small secretive fashion. It was like we were each other’s protector now. Me protecting his secret; He protecting me from whatever was inside Mrs. Winston’s house, I suppose. When I was telling myself I had to kill him, I felt pretty sure what I had to do, but now I was confused. I didn’t know what we were now. I mean, I knew we weren’t lovers, or going together, or anything like that, but I think I felt like my teenage cousin Shelly did when she fell for a guy in his thirties. She didn’t know what the hell it meant, or how to act, or even what to say to the guy. I was at that same kind of loss.
Mom came home about eight. Angela had called two more times by then and I was feeling anxious all over. I felt like I was going to have a breakdown at any minute. It made it worse that mom wanted us to eat dinner together, which almost never happened.
“Are you all right, dear?” she asked, as we sat at the table after the blessing.
This sounded strange coming from her, especially the ‘dear’ part. That was pretty well out of character and made me feel even more guarded. “Yes, Mom. I’m fine.”
“I just thought we could eat together tonight. We don’t get to do that much anymore since your father…” She let that hang in the air for a moment, and I could tell she was searching her addled mind for words. “I thought maybe we could talk.”
“About what?” I asked, cutting a small piece of meatloaf and putting it in my mouth.
“You know. Girl type stuff. We haven’t had that talk, I don’t think.”
“Mom, we don’t have to have that talk. I’m good.”
“Oh I know you’re a good girl, sweetie. But even good girls can make mistakes that affect them their whole lifetime.”
It didn’t take a psychoanalyst to figure out she was referring to herself. I guess it was only natural that she would want to protect me from doing the same things, but hell, to hear her tell it, when she was fifteen she’d been around the block several times over, and most of those times without clothes.
“Mom, I can’t make mistakes if I’m not doing anything. I barely go out of the house.”
“Right now, yes. But you’ll be seventeen in July and your body is going to be developing desires that are difficult to control. Already, you may be feeling something ….um, different. Or perhaps sensations…”
“Mom, please don’t. This is embarrassing. I had my first period just before my fourteenth birthday. Why didn’t you chat me up then? I had to go to Aunt Charlotte.”
She frowned. “I’m sure she told you everything and steered your curiosity away from your natural inclinations.”
“Natural inclinations? What the hell, mom?” I set my fork down. “Why don’t you tell me what’s really on your mind? Why do you have to play these dumb ass guessing games with me? I know you used to play ignorant with dad, but…”
“I saw the Facebook pictures,” she blurted quite matter as factly.
“I knew it. I knew this was what it was about. Let’s sit down to dinner dear so I can find out the name of your dyke girlfriend.”
“Don’t be so rude, Nora. Is it Angela?”
“Mom,“ I yelled. “It’s not anyone. It’s a vicious ugly rumor that got started by some jealous evil bitch at school. They set me up and then plastered pictures all over the net. That girl may have been gay, but I’m not.” I reinforced this statement by shoving my chair away from the table and getting up.
She looked up at me with a stern look and said, “Sit down.”
I fidgeted for a moment and then did as she said.
“Look Nora, I had to ask. I have people I barely know coming up to me in Walmart and whipping out their cells to show me you and that girl kissing.”
“Well, if you had looked close enough, you would have seen it was her doing the kissing, not me.”
“Even so. I need to be able to count on you to be a normal sixteen year old.”
“Normal? What is that supposed to mean? If I were gay, would that be not normal? If I go hang out at a drug dealer’s house, would that be not normal? Or how about smoking a blunt with my pimp? Or how about doing like you did and doing a strip tease on the school bus after football practice…”
Whap! The slap nearly echoed in the room and my head reeled to one side so hard I thought it would give me whiplash.
“Don’t talk to your mother like that,“ she screamed.
I rubbed my reddened cheek with the back of my hand. It stung badly, but I refused to let her see tears. “Fine, I’ll just be normal and not talk to you at all.”
Before she could say anything, I stormed out the room and upstairs to the safety of my bedroom. I made sure to slam the door so hard it shook the house. I knew she’d be up before too long so I locked the door and silently dared her to knock.
“Vampire Boys Of Summer” 2018 Paul D Aronson. All Rights Reserved.