I stare at the mountainous scenery past my mom’s flowers and garden holding my mug of orange juice. My mom’s garden used to be nonexistent before I left. The vegetable garden area used to have my little playhouse that my dad built but I designed. I don’t want to toot my own horn but my playhouse was the best out of the whole entire neighbourhood. I won’t go as far as the whole world but when I was younger I sure believed it.
The flowers were always there. The sweet flower aroma crept into the cracked window of our small kitchen every morning and afternoon like clockwork. I never knew what all of their names were but my favourite is the roses. There is something about the rose’s beauty that always captured my attention. The soft crafted beauty past the thorns.
Every week I would select the very best rose. Stare at as many as I could in the heat, it was mostly when I saw no bees near that I would decide and find the most beautiful one. The one with no imperfections. The one with the most pink or the most red. It didn’t have a bug hidden in the soft petals or bites at the ends. Once I had found it, I would take the gardening gloves from my mom’s back pocket and pluck it right from the earth. Rush my feet up the back stairs and present it to my mom with my brightest smile.
My mom loved it every single time. Even though she knew it was coming, her smile never failed. She would stoop down in front of me, give me a kiss on the head and a warm hug after. My favourite part was when she would add the flower right in the middle of the new floral arrangement she had just created.
There is a calm about my home that has a huge place in my heart. Modern style furniture that I recommend for the place still remained in tack. This place has always my project to create. You couldn’t go a month without seeing something new or different in the space. Changed paint or a hand build shelf my dad and I built. My parents kept my imagination going throughout high school since hiring an experienced designer would cost them more money. In no time, our home design became real.
“I am glad that you are here,” my mom says, she is sitting at the kitchen table. She slides the newspaper to the side of the table of where my dad sits. Her light brown hair stayed silky and knowing her age she should have grays, yet, there wasn’t any. She doesn’t look her age and to think about it, she never has. Many would have mistaken her for my sister and boy does that make her cheeks burn with delight.
I rest my body against the ledge of the window and watch. She hasn’t changed all that much, just a little wiser as the years gone by. Her tea steamed from her medium size mug. A simple white mug, no glitz or glamour or witty quotes. It held a single crack on the body. A hairline fracture if you want to call it that. The mug that was passed down from her great-grandmother to her grandmother to her mom and to her was dropped by yours truly when I was six-years-old. Not one of my proudest moment.
“I missed you,” I say.
“Not me?” my dad says entering the house. He places his keys on the hook with a silver-plated backing shaped like a house and grabs a cold bottle of water from the fridge.
“Of course, I missed you too,” I say
“She is lying to you, she was just complaining about you are always being in her business and being such a dad,” mom laughs. It made me feel like a teenager again.
Dad kisses my forehead, the smell of forest trees hover on his shirt like he was rolling in a great pine. He holds a piece of my hair in his hand, “Did you change your hair colour? I loved your natural colour, you should keep it natural.”
“This is my natural hair colour,” I reply. “I went throw a highlight stage once or twice but it has always been black.”
“Oh, I thought your hair was a lighter brown,” He looks at my hair once again, examining it between his slightly aged fingertips. “Are you sure?”
I give him a squeeze. He rests his lightly grey-haired head on mine. I could feel his cheeks raise into a smile. “Yes, I am pretty sure dad.”
“You would think that your own dad would know his own daughter’s hair color. Don’t take it personally, he didn’t know my hair was cut for six months once.” My mom laughs. “If I didn’t have a large stomach I am sure he wouldn’t have noticed I was pregnant with you. Now, if a man walked by and happen to check me out, he was on that like a police dog.”
My dad smiles proudly to my mom. “You still do that?” he asks me. “You have been drinking juice out of a mug ever since you were little. You wanted to copy us at the table when we were drinking coffee.”
“It must be programmed into her DNA,” my mom says. She lifts the cover of the steaming pot of the stove and adjusts the temperature. “Dinner should be ready in a few minutes.”
“I wanted to take you two out for dinner,” I place my mug in the sink and slide my butt on top of the kitchen counter.
My mom stirs the open pot with a wooden spoon. The smell continues to simmer and bubble. “No need, it is nice that I get to cook your favourites. Your dad has been wanting the same dinner every night.”
My dad looks at my mom surprised. “You never told me that it irritated you.”
“Well I am sure you did not see any excitement on my face when I made you dinner these past few months,” She laughs.
“For now on, we make the decision together. You’re the chief, I should eat whatever you cook up,” he says kissing mom on the cheek.
“He says that now but this time I have a witness to his lovely words,” she says. “Christy take your butt off my counter and go wash up for dinner.”
The house felt the same. My bedroom, however, looks like a guest room at a hotel minus the TV, little fridge and overall extra charges that come from taking things from that mini fridge. My mom told me that they made a few changes to the house. I did not realize that it was code for, placing all my things in a box and throwing it in the basement.
I’d rather a guest room than a home gym. Hey, a girl needs to know where she is going to sleep when she visits. And don’t get me started on the couch, the couch is the last place I want to sleep. The living room is the place with the most foot traffic, conveniently placed between the front door, the stairs and the kitchen. It is not the best place to keep company with the constant noise of everyone in the house trying not to disrupt your sleep but is actually disturbing you in the process.
I look around in my former room rubbing my fingers against the new cream color paint that cascaded the walls trying to remember what this room looked like before. I guess I been away for so long now. Way too long it feels like.
We sat quietly at the small round dining table in the kitchen. Our food steaming off our plates and forks. The twinkling lights in the far distance as our backdrop in the window behind us. They shine their brightest against the night sky but the moonlight across the lake overpowers the stage.
“How is Matt?” My dad casually asks.
I could see my mom’s eyes dart over to my dad. She clears her throat. “Cameron.”
“What?” he says confused.
“We broke up,” I say, hoping that this would be the end to this conversation.
“She doesn’t want to talk about it Cameron,” her tone of voice turns demanding and stern.
“I wasn’t going to ask, my dear. She can tell us if she feels,” My dad takes another bite from his fork. “How long ago did this happen roughly and when can I break his bones?”
“It’s been a while now…three years if you want to be technical. You are not serious about breaking his bones, right?”
He smiles and wipes the napkin over his mouth. “Of course, not… honey, can you book me a ticket for Monday?”
All dads are the same. Ready to pretty much kill any guy who looks, touches, breathes or in any kilometre of their daughter. If I was a boy he would have told me to either get a new girl or chase after this girl.
“It is all right that you don’t want to tell me. You are not obligated to. It is your decision. I will just have to break his bones until I find out what he did to hurt you,” dad takes a sip of his drink.
Mom rolls her eyes like a school girl. “Cameron please, relax yourself.”
“He assured me that he would never hurt her. We had an agreement that he broke. I am simply reminding him about our agreement up close in person. If my fist or foot were to slip a few times and leave unintended bruising than that is a mistake by an old man.”
“Let’s not discuss this any further, clearly this is hard for her,” My mom replies. “And you, old man, you are not making this any better for her.”
“We are going to pay him a little visit. Fly in and fly out.” My dad winks at me. He enjoyed giving my mom a tease once and a while.
My mom’s eyes widen and her mouth drops a bit. A sheet of panic spreads across her face. “We are not flying,” My mom replies in a stern voice.
“It was a joke, dear,” He replies.
“Not even in a joke we would be flying,” she says.
I never asked where this fear of flying started but she had always had it. She would disguise it as a road trip here and a road trip there. Family bonding down the long stretch roads with crept up legs in the back seat. Peeing in bushes or sketchy gas station germ infested stalls. I couldn’t understand why I was the only kid in my class to had never been on a plane. My dad with his hand rested on my small shoulder just explained it as a fear of flying and no explanation of why. I don’t think he even knows, we all just accept it.
There is one thing that has crossed my mind. When you feel like your flying or falling in a dream, does that completely and utterly freak my mom out? Or can she handle the ones in her dreams? I mean she is stuck in there until her alarm rings or when she falls out of her bed. I wouldn’t dare ask her though, I mean she freaked out over a joke.
“He didn’t do anything. People grow apart all the time,” I say.
“Grow apart? No, you two are going through a tough time right now. You will make it through,” My mom could always see the good in everything.
If only my mom really knew. I can’t even imagine what she would think about how I broke things off the way that I did. However, I did what I had to. At least, I thought I had to. How do you know when you have made the right decision?