Retrieve the pot with leftover Bhutan red rice, cooked in beef broth.
- chopped dried apricots
- a Ceylon cinnamon stick
- water, soymilk
Simmer so flavors meld, 15 minutes or so.
Stir occasionally, between chores.
Turn off heat, let cool.
Wash your hands.
Eat, and be amazed.
“I’ll race you down,” said the cyclist turning into my lane at the top of the 10th Street hill.
“No, thanks,” I said, “I’ve got eggs and flowers to think of.” I was on my way home from the farmers market, pink lisianthus wrapped in newspaper hanging out of the bike basket. I adjusted my seagrass hat more firmly on my head for the downhill glide.
“For Mother?” he asked, keeping up with me.
“Not even slightly,” I said.
“What are the eggs for then?” he asked. Now he was behind me, on my left.
“Breakfast,” I replied. I’d never seen this guy before; what did he care what I did with my eggs?
He passed me at a stop sign. “Have a good rest of your day!”
“You do the same,” I said, relieved as he pedaled away, cutting off a truck making a U-turn.
Mother’s Day, Mothers’ Day. I’d forgotten, though I’d seen a chalk board sign in front of a restaurant advertising Sunday Brunch. This Sunday. Mother’s Day.
My biological mother and I are estranged. Again. I don’t know why, this time, though it may have to do — if it has to do with anything — with a fight we had 15 years ago. She reminded me of it in the middle of another, more recent, fight.
“You called me a slut!” she cried.
“That’s because you are!” I replied. Just flew out of my mouth, bypassing my brain completely.
In 2001, my essay, “Free Love Ain’t,” was published in an anthology, Wild Child: Girlhoods in the Counterculture. In it, I related the goings-on in our house during 1970’s Santa Monica. Sex, drugs, etc.
The fallout from publication was estrangement with my father, who was barely mentioned. My mother neglected to read the galleys until after the book had been on Oprah. We discussed it once: she refuted how an event had occurred. I replied that yes, I was young, and that was how I remembered it – Mick Jagger, nuns, bye bye blackbird.
“Okay,” she said, and that was it. We never talked about it again. Estrangements came and went. My niece’s mother reconciled us once and convinced me to visit. Twice. 1200 miles by car.
My mother asked me to help her move to New Orleans. I agreed, put all my clients on hold, sublet my tiny house, and prepared for a long cross-country journey.
Imagine my rage when I found out that my ex-battering-boyfriend, the one she had made a point of telling me she’d slept with first, was trucking her things to her new home in the Tremé.
That was when I called her a slut. That was the fight she was referring to, years later.
Do I regret it? the second time? I don’t know. It was a revelation. I guess her behavior — and I know she was a grieving divorcée, mourning her dead son — affected me more deeply than I thought. Affects me.
When I am not angry at her (it comes and goes), I regret hurting her.
I don’t regret learning the truth about my feelings.
Fact: my mother belongs to a krewe called The Pizza Sluts.
Saturday Afternoon Soup
2 cups black beans, soaked overnight and rinsed
7 chopped carrots
3 cubed gold potatoes
1 turmeric root, skinned, broken into 3
Put ingredients in small stock pot, cover with water.
- healthy dash of garlic powder
- ground pepper
- dried, ground sage
- heaping tablespoon of fennel seeds
- leftover beef broth
Bring to boil, then simmer an hour or three.
Stir occasionally, while washing socks.
- a good squirt of lemon juice
- a big white onion, chopped
Have a good cry.
Simmer another 15 minutes or so.
Serve while onions are still crisp.