Tag Archives: family

Parental Deception; chapter ten, part one

“Viv! It’s good to see you again.” I throw my arms around my sister and hug her tight. She’s wearing a slinky little black dress with her hair in artful waves, and she looks stunning.

“You, too, Meg.” Viv holds me at arm’s length and studies my dress. As I’m wearing a short red dress that barely hides my tits and ass, I’m confident that I’ll meet her standards. She believes in flaunting what the good lord gave you, and I’m inclined to agree with her. “I’ve made reservations at Haute Dish. Is that OK with you?”

“It’s fine,” I say, a distinct lack of enthusiasm in my voice. I’m not a big fan of deconstructed food, and I don’t want puree in the middle of my tater tots. Still. Viv is the guest, so she gets to choose. “Where are Jasmine and Bob?”

“Bob is taking a nap. Jasmine is getting ready. She’s coming with us.” Viv fusses with her purse before bringing out a warm red lipstick and applying it.

“What?!” My mouth drops open in surprise. I hadn’t even invited Jasmine because I was so sure she wouldn’t come with us.

“She wanted us girls to go out once before I go back home,” Viv says, finishing with her lipstick. She puts it back in her purse and snaps the purse shut.

“I’m glad. It’ll be fun.” I have my reservations because we had such a different reaction to Mr. Tsai, but it’ll be great to have the three of us together again.

“Hi, Megan! You look great.” Jasmine hugs me and kisses me on the cheek. Unlike Viv and me in our monochromatic dresses, she’s wearing a pink floral print that suits her. Her dress reaches her knees, and she’s covered up her own impressive bosom.

“So do you, Jasmine,” I say as I pull back. “Let’s face it. We are three fine-looking ladies!” We link arms and go outside. Since I’m not in the mood to drink tonight, I’m driving. Neither of my sisters drink much, either, but they’re not against a glass of wine every now and again.

We chat about our lives on our way to Haute Dish. I don’t know about them, but I need a break from all the heaviness that has dominated my life in the past few months. We laugh and giggle, and I can feel my spirits lifting. When we reach the restaurant, I look over the menu. The Beet X 5 is calling to me as an appetizer, and I decide on the Quail in a Can for my dinner. Once we’ve ordered, Jasmine brings up the subject we’ve all been avoiding—that man.

“What do you girls think about the news?” She asks, lifting her glass of wine to her lips. “I can’t believe he was lying about being our father.”

“I can,” I say bluntly. “I never really thought he was our father.”

“So you’re glad to be proven right?” Jasmine asks, her voice rising a bit.

Continue Reading

Parental Deception: chapter eight, part two

I am still thinking about it as I drive home. I list all the reasons it’s a bad idea, but there’s a small voice in the back of my head saying, “I don’t care. Fuck his brains out.” I try to shut it up, but it refuses to be quiet. Should I even mention it to Rembrandt? I mean, if it’s just going to be one night, why bother? I know I’m rationalizing, however, because I don’t want to deal with the drama of discussing it with Rembrandt. The fact that I want to fuck someone else only a month after starting to date Rembrandt suggests that maybe I need to cool things down with Rembrandt. I’ve already started to feel restless after spending three nights with him, so maybe this is a sign.

“Meow!” Onyx launches herself into my arms, and I catch her effortlessly. I snuggle her to my chest as I slip off my shoes. Jet bumps his head against my shin, and I reach down to ruffle the fur on his head. I’m having dinner with Liz at Sen Yai Sen Lek at six, which means I have to about fifteen minutes before I have to leave again. I’m excited to see Liz because I haven’t seen her since she left for Philly a year and a half ago. I give my babies their treats and lots of fuss before taking off again. I arrive at Sen Yai Sen Lek at ten minutes to six, which means I have to wait for at least ten minutes, and probably twenty. Liz is perennially late for social events, and it’s something I tease her about to this day. Fifteen minutes later, she walks in. Her red curls are swept up on top of her head, and her emerald eyes are sparkling behind her glasses. She’s wearing a deep green dress that brushes her knees, and she looks fantastic.

“Megan!” Liz calls out, a wide grin crossing her face.

“Liz!” I jump up, run over to her, and hug her hard. We both start babbling at each other as we make our way to the table I had already snagged.

“How was your Thanksgiving?” Liz asks as she studies the menu.

“Surprisingly good,” I reply. I’ve already decided on my order, so I don’t pick up my menu. “I met Rembrandt’s mother and brothers plus partners and children for lunch, and then I brought him to Jasmine’s for dinner. Which was fine except that man was there. How about you?”

“Thanksgiving was fantastic! It was my family and Frankie’s family, which was about fifty people. Hey, he’s Italian, and so is my mom.” Liz sets her menu aside, and the server rushes over to take our order. Once she’s gone, Liz continues. “Day after Thanksgiving with my father wasn’t as fun because we flew out at the crack of dawn to LA, and he was stinking drunk. I think he was nervous being around Rosa for the first time in a few years.”

“Sorry. That must have sucked.” I sip at my Diet Coke, then at my water.

“I was glad to leave, I can tell you that much.” Liz drinks her Thai iced tea and sighs. She’s had a rocky relationship with her father since he left her mother for another woman when Liz was ten years old. It’s one of the things we bonded over—our fathers leaving our families.

“I bet.” The server comes with our appetizers, fried tofu and chicken skewers. We both take a few minutes to heap our plates with both.

Continue Reading

Parental Deception; chapter four, part three

“Dessert tonight is compliments of my sister, Megan,” Jasmine informs the table.

“Rembrandt did most of the work,” I say, smiling at Rembrandt across the table. “He’s a true gourmet in the kitchen. I basically sat around and looked pretty.”

“That’s not true,” Rembrandt protests. “You made all the pie crusts, which is arguably the hardest part.”

“It was fun, especially as you’re such a patient mentor,” I reply, winking at Rembrandt. I notice that Viv is smirking at me, and I smirk back at her.

“Let me know what you want,” Jasmine says, holding up her spatula.

“Sweet taters!” Ing-wen says, holding out her plate.

“Pumpkin!” Michelle chimes in, holding up her plate as well.

“Blueberry!” Jason gives his opinion, and he’s quickly followed by Jenny.

“Grammy, pumpkin and blueberry, please.” She bats her eyelashes at Jasmine, who smiles at her in return. She turns to look at Jordan, who nods his head.

“Just a small piece of each, Ma,” Jordan says. “We don’t want her to get over-sugared.”

“I understand,” Jasmine says, nodding her head. She does exactly as Jordan requested and gives Jenny a sliver of each of the pumpkin and blueberry pies. She’s been giving each of the kids ice cream with their pie, too, which they all like.

“Pumpkin?” Jonathon asks it more like a question than a statement. Jasmine cuts him a piece and he thanks her gravely.

“Henry, what would you like?” Jasmine ask, turning to that man.

“I’d love a piece of the sweet potato pie,” Henry says. “And, is that real whipped cream? I’ll take a scoop of that as well.” Jasmine cuts him a generous portion of the sweet potato pie, much to my dismay. I was counting on having leftovers because the last time I brought one, I was the only person who ate a piece. That was four or five years ago, however, and it was before half of these people became a part of the family. Jamal also requests a piece of the sweet potato pie, and it’s down by half by the time Jasmine gets to me.

“Sweet potato and pumpkin with whipped cream for me,” I say, holding out my plate. Jasmine cuts small pieces of each and puts them on my plate. I don’t protest because I can always have more later if I have room for it. I take a bite of the sweet potato pie, and I almost regret asking for a piece of each. I take a bite of the pumpkin pie, however, and it’s just as good as the sweet potato pie. I close my eyes so I can fully appreciate the complex and delicate flavoring of the pies. I notice that conversation is at a minimum around me; I assume that everyone else is preoccupied with their pie as well.

Continue Reading

Parental Deception; chapter three, part three

We sit down at the table, which is loaded with food. A twenty-five pound turkey sits proudly in the middle, and it looks as if it’s done to perfection. There are huge bowls of mashed potatoes with garlic, yams, cranberry salad, stuffing (bread), steamed vegetables, and a fruit salad surrounding it. There’s also a platter of spare ribs, and another platter of assorted breads. Finally, there are three gravy boats placed strategically around the table so everybody can reach one. My pants will be in serious danger of bursting, but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make. I’m seated beside Rembrandt and Jacqueline, and the kids are on the other side of Jacqueline.

“I’d like to say a few words,” Stephanie says. No one replies, but I catch the guys rolling their eyes. That tells me they’re used to Stephanie speechifying, and they’ve realized it’s useless to protest. “In my life, I’ve been blessed with a loving husband, three terrific sons, Antonio, Jacqueline, Nicholas, and Beth. Now, Megan has been added to our happy family, and I feel even more blessed than ever. I don’t care for the traditional meaning of Thanksgiving, but I consider it a time to bring my family close to my bosom. I’m grateful you all live in Minnesota as well, so we can have these family gatherings with minimal fuss and/or muss. That’s it. Dig in!” Stephanie smiles at everyone, and I smile back. That was sweet and fairly short, so I don’t see the problem. Stephanie starts plating generous portions of food, then handing them out around the table. I get mine after Rembrandt, and my mouth is watering as the tantalizing smell of spare ribs greets my nose. I glance at Rembrandt and see that he’s waiting for the others to be served first, so I don’t pick up my fork just yet. As soon as Stephanie makes a plate for herself—I notice that she gives herself far less than she has doled out to the rest of us—I pick up my fork and eat as fast as I can without breaking social dicta. Everything is fantastic, and I can tell where Rembrandt gets his cooking chops from.

“You are a terrific chef, Stephanie,” I say when I’ve taken the edge off my hunger.

“Thank you,” Stephanie beams at me. “Francisco’s mom was a sous-chef in Italy, and he taught me everything he knew when we first got married. I couldn’t even boil water back then.”

Conversation peters out as we all concentrate on our food. I notice that the guys are putting a serious dent in the reserves, yet, there’s still more left than what they’ve consumed. Jacqueline alternates eating a few bites of her food with helping Beth eat. Stephanie is more interested in making sure everyone’s plate is full than in eating. Me, I’m doing my best to clean my plate, but I’m slowing down. As tasty as everything is, there is only so much food I can eat at one time. Normally, I eat small amounts several times a day, so it’s a challenge for me to eat this much food in one sitting. I have to do it a second time later tonight, but I don’t want to think about that right now. I finish the stuffing because it’s my favorite, and Stephanie quickly adds another scoop to my plate. I nod my head in thanks, but inside, I’m groaning. I still have more than half my plate to eat, and she keeps adding to it as soon as I finish one kind of food. I realize that’s the key—I have to eat some of everything and not let one particular kind of food get down to nothing. I put that to the test, and it works like a charm.

“Mom, can I have more mashed potatoes?” Gaugin asks, his mouth full of yams.

“Yes, you may,” Stephanie says pointedly. “And don’t talk with your mouth full.”

“Sorry,” Gaugin says after he swallows. He holds out his plate, and Stephanie fills a quarter of it with mashed potatoes. Gaugin happily digs in, unaware that Jacqueline is shooting him a dirty look.

“Honey, remember your cholesterol,” Jacqueline says, her voice stern. “You know Dr. Ellis wants you to be more careful with your diet.”

“It’s Thanksgiving,” Gaugin protests, barely taking a break in his eating. “No one watches their diet on Thanksgiving.”

Continue Reading

Parental Deception; chapter three, part two

“To sleep, perchance to dream—ay, there’s the rub.”

– Hamlet.

My version of the above quote is, “To sleep, perchance not to dream, damn it.” I’ve never been a big fan of sleep ever since I was a little girl. When I was four or five, my mother would try to put me to bed at six or seven, and I’d lie in bed staring at the ceiling for hours. When I got older and I could read, which was roughly a year later, I would put a towel in the door crack and read until midnight. Then, my mother would be puzzled as to why I was groggy at six in the morning, which is when she wanted me to get up. Of course, I couldn’t tell her what I was doing because then she’d put a stop to my late night reading adventures. I learned to live with not enough sleep at a young age, and I think it’s part of the reason my sleeping habits are so shitty now.

I have to get up for work at six-thirty. My body will not let me go to sleep before midnight, which means I normally don’t fall asleep until one in the morning at the earliest. I can survive on six hours of sleep, but anything less keeps me in a perpetual state of grogginess. I try to catch up on the weekends, but I usually stay up until four or five in the morning and get up around noon the next day. Yes, that allows me to sleep longer, but it throws my schedule off by a considerable amount. There’s the belief that people who work the overnight should stay on that schedule even when they’re not at work. I think this is wise, but I’m not disciplined enough to do it myself.

When I was in college, I used to go to bed at three in the morning and get up at seven for a seven-forty-five class. I used to drink six Diet Cokes a day to combat the fatigue, grabbing one right out of the mini-fridge the first thing in the morning to give myself a boost. One morning, I woke up late and couldn’t find my portable alarm. In desperation, I opened the mini-fridge to grab a Diet Coke, and there was my fucking alarm. After that, I set it across the room on the sink so I would have to wake up to turn it off. Of course, I could have gotten more sleep, but that wasn’t going to happen. Every time I’d go home during a break, I would crash on the first day for fifteen hours.

Sleep is a bitch. I hate it. If I didn’t have to do it, I wouldn’t. I envy people who enjoy sleep. I have one friend who loves to wake up and just luxuriate in the feeling of being mostly asleep. I have another friend who wakes up with a smile on his face because he’s so refreshed. I have several friends who like their dream worlds better than their real lives. I hate them all. I’m kidding, but I fear I will never have a positive feeling about sleep.

I get a solid half hour out of writing on this topic. I publish it and wait. It’s nearly four in the morning, and I’m still nowhere near sleep. Five minutes after I publish the post, there’s a response. It’s from MNborn, and she writes, “Sleep has been my nemesis all my life. I want to be friends, but it has spurn all my entreaties. Yoga, meditation, chamomile tea, melatonin—none of them work. Currently, I simply stay awake until I’m tired enough to drop dead, and then I sleep for three or four hours.” I write back, “My sister! I can’t tell you all the remedies that had failed for me. Chamomile tea, melatonin, St. John’s Wort, Valerian, hot baths, hot milk….None of it has done jackshit. I’m basically doing the same thing you are—staying awake until I’m falling over, then sneaking in a few hours of nightmare-laden sleep.”

“Hey, babe. Getting in your daily dose of chung-chung, eh?” Rembrandt materializes in front of me, yawning as he wipes the sleep from his eyes. The cats are here as well, and they’re all sleepy as well. Rembrandt sits on the couch next to me, casually placing  his arm along the couch in back of me. Ginger climbs into his lap and nuzzles his belly. Onyx claims my lap as her own, and Jet squeezes himself between us.

“It’s like crack. I can’t stop watching.” For several seconds, utter contentment washes over me. I’ve been thinking about family a lot lately, and this is the closest to my definition of the word. No, it’s not family in the traditional sense of the word. We’re not married; we don’t have children; we’re not even living together. I have trouble with us spending more than one night with him, for heaven’s sake. But, for just that moment, the two of us watching a shitty procedural with our three cats is as much family as I want to have. I drop my head on Rembrandt’s shoulder and close my eyes. I can still hear Sam Waterson spluttering indignantly in the background, and then I drift off into the ethers.

Continue Reading