"Tell me again. How did he say it?"
My mother Petunia giggled like a school girl pushing back her frizzy orange hair that (despite being in pig tails) stubbornly kept falling over her shoulder as she made us coco. It was a chilly night, though my mother still claimed the night she found me to be the coldest one she had ever endured in the big city.
That's right. NYC baby- though we were thankfully not smack dab in the middle. My mother and I were located in the slightly nicer parts of town with our apartment above a little organic homeopathic shop. We use to share a room but right about the time I began to bleed my mom had decided it was time to let me have the bedroom. In her opinion I was a young woman now and young women like me needed their own space. So she turned the tiny room she used for sewing into a half bedroom for herself. Despite my protests she gave me the bigger room that even a week of sulking on the couch hadn't fixed.
Some people think it's weird that we shared a room for so long, but I had severe night terrors since I was an infant. I had only grown out of them the year before we separated rooms. Thankfully they didn't return with the change.
"OK, so I put the pancakes down in front of him. He had his badge on and I asked if there was anything else I could get for him. And-" her cheeks flamed as she grabbed the milk half fanning herself with the other hand.
"And!?" I prompted trying to coax an answer out of her.
My mother giggled swaying her hips a bit. "I think I still need your number ma'am." She purred in a deep tone looking over her shoulder batting her lashes slowly making us both burst out in a fit of giggles.
Once she set my coco in front of me and I finally wiped the tears from my eyes, a grin was permanently stuck on my face. "So does that mean he's going to call you?"
"Well he kind of stayed after my shift so we sat and talked a while..."
"That's why you weren't home before I was in bed." I gasped setting back down my coco. "Mother you didn't go home with that man did you?"
We had the birds and bees talk a while ago- not that I had bothered to participate in those kinds of activities. I had gotten close at one point but once online distant learning became a thing due to the virus I had graduated with a boyfriend that ended up fucking his neighbor. My mother and I both called him fuck boy now whenever we referred to he who shall not be named. She was supportive like that.
She nearly had coco shoot out of her nose as she sputtered at my shocked mock tone. "No I didn't go home with him. We just talked, and now I have a date tomorrow night." Her chin lifted slightly in a proud manner as he pointed at herself. I had certainly inherited her shyness- so I understood how proud she was of herself. I was pretty proud of myself too when I had managed to land a boyfriend.
"Tomorrow night? As in I get to order take out and pig out without you judging me as I eat my noodles this time?"
"You mean stuff your face like some sort of monster?" My mother asked blandly tapping on her mug as she gave me the stink eye.
"It's not like I'm concerned about my figure. I'm planning on game design. That means I will be a hermit in a basement and it doesn't matter how pudgy or pimple faced I get." I said with a small satisfied grin. It's not that I didn't take care of my appearance; my mom called me a natural beauty. I was pretty sure all mom's like mine would say that though. You know the non-critical loving kind. The few friends I had her meet had loved her, but of course now that we were all grown it was just me and my mom most days.
Overall I wasn't horrible looking, if a bit on the plumper side. I had a small tummy roll, soft arms and legs, my hair was inky black, my skin pale from the lack of sun the last year or so along with bright ice blue eyes that made me look entirely washed out. I had tried bleaching and dying my hair once- it hadn't gone well. Orange was not the new blond, and other colors didn't go over it well. Though to be fair my mother and I were not good with directions and chemicals.
At one point I had thought about going into fashion. Turns out though that corsets and pants aren't exactly the latest trend. It made me feel like a bad ass when I use to cosplay as a vampire- but I got out of that phase after my mother refused to let me go to any of the events with my friends. I was to be indoors in a safe place when it was dark. So hanging out had to be gaming through the night online.
I was pretty sure my curfew that she still insisted on even now was just to her paranoia of me freezing to death since she found me as a baby. Home before dark and do not go out once the sun has set. That was the rule- no matter what age I was. Period.
Needless to say I planned on partying it up once I was in collage after hours. I reasoned with myself that it would be safer. Oregon wasn't exactly a big city so the likelihood of being mugged was down. At least, in my mind.
My mother sighed rolling her eyes. "Fine order in, do what you want with your summer money. Blow it on your video games for all I care, but don't whine to me when you need more money for food while your at collage."
I rolled my eyes. We both knew I was better at budgeting than she was. Thankfully I had gotten on a coupon kick for a bit when the pandemic hit. My mom was beside herself- not working for months at a time. Crying at night. She was certain we were going to get kicked out. There weren't any jobs and we were so behind on our rent.
We still had to wear face masks now until they had enough vaccines out but the restrictions were getting looser and looser. It felt like there was finally an ending to the chaos. I had managed to make some money online with gaming and when the stimulus money came I managed to keep up a float and out of debt- somehow. Mom finally found another job cleaning houses for a while and caring for the elderly part time to make up on missing bills. Once the diner opened back up and mom was making the management wage again I began to use my money to save for collage.
And occasionally the Pad Thai from Mr. Chang's around the corner.
"You wouldn't let me starve." I said rolling my eyes drinking some of my coco. Perfect as always. "So do I have to call him dad if you bring him over. Or officer?"
"You're incorrigible. Go get your own love life."
"I did. Didn't go so well."
"Is fuck boy still messaging you?"
I nodded drinking the rest of my coco frowning. "He keeps saying how sorry he is and wants to have coffee before I leave."
"Starbucks or Andwellas?" My mother asked grilling me, her eyes full of suspicion that I would crumble and give in.
"Starbucks." I replied rolling my eyes. Andwellas was a favorite coffee shop of mine that also had fresh teas. It was probably about as expensive as Starbucks but he thought it was weird.
"Clearly he's not that sorry then." My mother pointed out before finishing her mug as well. "Movie night?"
"Sure." I said shrugging.
I didn't know what I was going to do without her once I was in the dorms. Already I knew I'd be one of those girls that called their mom's every night. Honestly I didn't care if it made me lame.
I loved my mom.