I didn’t wait for Nicole to wake me or Mother to chide me for staying bed and hiding from work. I hardly slept. Repeatedly, my mind reran the video of J’s hand taking hold of mine and our lips touching. I smelled my hand frequently during the night to catch a hint of her sweet fragrance. My sleep was ragged, but I didn’t care I’d discovered, for the first time in my life, someone more important to me than me, or Mother or Father. I drifted off around 2:30 after I heard Mother thanking Oscar for coming over so late to watch Hot Bahama Nights with her. As for Oscar, the man has the endurance of an Ethiopian marathon runner.
I arrived early for breakfast. I asked Victor to get me started with coffee, fresh squeezed grapefruit juice, and a hearty bowl of oatmeal. I am determined to be a reformed eater. No more junk food. I want to be lean and mean for my chocolate truffle.
I heard Mother and Father approaching the dining room. When they arrived, I heard a quick gasp from Mother. “Martin, are you feeling well? What’s wrong. You can tell Mother. Do you need Father to leave the room so we can have a Mother to son talk. It’s about sex, isn’t it. Do you catch an STD from the woman you’re dating? Is she pregnant? We’ve warned you about only having safe sex. I’ll call Pettibone and have him arrange a DNA test. He’ll fix it so another male’s DNA will replace yours and no one can prove it’s your child.”
I’m a psychologist. I’ll admit I don’t know what I’m doing and what I know about psychology can fit in one coffee cup. It’s enough to get by. One thing I’m sure of, Mother is nuts. She is one hundred percent certifiable. I’d like to help her in my role as a psychologist but I’ve never heard of a psychologist having his mother as a patient. I think Freud might have some fun with that one. I don’t know anything about Freud. I’m only name dropping here so anyone who is reading this will think I’m intelligent. Mother taught me to name drop. She said it gives instant cred. I think I’ll use this technique at group this morning.
I turned my head slightly toward Mother, “Mother, I feel great. I do not have an STD. The woman I am planning to marry is not pregnant. We haven’t had sex yet.”
Mother and Father bypassed the stand behind your chair until prayers are said. They sat down. Father grabbed his Wall Street Journal waiting for him next to his place setting at the end of the table. On the other end, Mother, took her linen napkin and spread it across her lap. I noticed she’s wearing a light colored summer dress that dropped to mid café. Before I could ask Mother if she scheduled a massage for the morning, she said, “Oh no. Is she frigid? If she’s frigid you’ll have to carry on discrete affairs. It will be the only way to maintain your sanity. You’ll also have to deposit your sperm in a sperm bank. I’ll help you pick out the perfect egg for your sperm.”
Mother is talking about me retaining my sanity? No further proof needed. I wonder if Pettibone will get me a power of attorney over her. I glanced at Father. He was reading the Wall Street Journal the way I used to ready Playboy. He wasn’t listening. I was so sure he wasn’t listening I said to Mother, “Mother, does Father have erectile dysfunction?”
Mother’s pale pallor flushed pink. I’ve never seen her embarrassed. She leaned toward me and whispered, “Don’t say it so loud. He’s not proud of it.”
“Isn’t he doing his secretary?” I asked.
“Martin, where are you getting this information?”
“Rumors I pick up at the club, Mother,” I lied.
Mother said, “I’ve heard those rumors and I say, good for Father. I hear he paid for breast implants for her.”
Okay, this was information overload. I don’t know what Oscar and she did last night, but her dendrites were misfiring. I needed to change the subject, “Mother. I think I want Victor to learn how to cook grits and fried pickles.”
“Grits? Grits? Fried pickles? Surely you misspoke. The filthy rich don’t eat grits. We don’t eat hominy. We don’t eat okra. We don’t eat green beans cooked in bacon fat. Have you been reading William Faulkner?”
“I don’t read books, Mother. That’s old school. I listen to podcasts. I found an interesting one last night on interracial marriages and how to make them work.”
“Why would you waste your time with that, Martin. You know the Sanderstuffs don’t mix blood or human excretions with people of another race. Is this for your group? Is someone in the group involved in an interracial relationship?” asked Mother.
“I can honestly say, Mother. I’m working on an interracial dating issue right now. It’s true love, Mother. The problem the couple has is that parents on both sides don’t understand.”
Mother took a sip of her coffee, then rang a little bell next to her plate. Victor appeared within five seconds. Either the bell has magic properties or Victor has extraordinary hearing. Or, he’s afraid Mother will sack him from the easiest chef’s gig in the world.
“Yes, Mother,” said Victor. All the help call them Mother and Father. It’s a rule. They did this so I wouldn’t have role confusion as a child. Mother is so thoughtful.
“Victor, bring me a piece of dry rye toast, fresh squeezed orange juice and coffee with a shot of espresso.”
I looked at Mother, “Did you have a long night? You never add espresso.” I can be such an imp when I want to be.
Mother didn’t miss a beat, “Oh, Martin. Thank you for your concern. I tossed and turned worrying about you. I didn’t get to sleep until just after 3 this morning.”
I decided to let that one go. I wanted to ask for a review of Hot Bahama Nights, but I’ve seen it three times. “Thank you for worrying about me, Mother. When you meet J, you will see I’m in good hands. You won’t have to worry about me ever again.”
“When can you bring her over, Martin. She sounds delightful. I’d like to take her to the country club to meet all my friends and show her off.”
Mother gave me the opening. I said, “When we talk I’ll ask her if she is ready to come to dinner to meet Father and you. I know you’ll just love her.”
“Father. Father. Did you hear Martin?” said Mother.
Father looked up from the Wall Street Journal. He said, “Apple went up one point three percent. Sanderstuff holdings held steady.”
What a great family. I can’t want to ask J.