Saturday, September 5, 2009
Part Two: Memories of a Grateful Daughter: My Father. My Mother
I am young, seven or eight. I ride on the bus down town. My dad has begun a tradition. We each get to meet him for lunch alone once during our Summer Vacation. It is a tradition, that unfortunately, will not last long. I am wearing a dress, tights and fancy shoes. I do not yet have a hatred of the City Bus. That will come after I miss my stop on a visit to my Grandma. I am forced to ride in an overcrowded bus filled with public school children I do not know, all older than I.
I arrive at the stop near my father’s office. He is waiting. We walk to a large circular hotel. He is in his suit and tie, his cordovan shoes are enormous. I am proud to be walking with him. We take the elevator to the top floor restaurant. We are led to a table covered in a white table cloth with matching cloth napkins. I feel shy. He orders for us and we eat bread from a basket with the same white napkins. We drink water from glass goblets. I talk, he listens. As I talk I know that I am a little lady. Everyone in the restaurant is jealous, for I am with the most distinguished man. I will go on to rebel, to hate, to no longer be proud to be seen with my father. But he has left an impression. I know how I want to be treated. I know what I deserve. I know then and always, I am a lady.
My mother makes the best pizza. For my friends, it is the highlight of every birthday party. We have it at least once a week. To save money, she shreds the cheese herself from a large white block. She has a light green Tupperware bowl with a lid that has the teeth to shred. It will be used long after it has become cracked. I am usually a pest. There is always a tiny bit at the end that can not be shredded. I want it for myself.
I am unaware of others, I am laying on the family room couch day dreaming. I am a famous actress. No a rock star. Perhaps a very holy nun. The day is hot and I am normally outside in a fort made with my neighborhood friend, but I am here on the couch for some reason, alone.
My mom comes down the single step from the kitchen to the family room. She holds something out to me. I awake from my imaginary world and focus on her hand. It is the end of the cheese.
I tell myself as I eat the delicious mozzarella, when I am a mother, I will always try to remember the little things. They mean the most.