Sitting across the restaurant table from her he can tell she's up to something. It's that look she gets when her mind is spinning a mile a minute. Never meaning malice but always wondering, questioning. "So tell me, she says..... What was your childhood like?" Hesitantly he replies, "What do you mean? "You know, she says with an pleading tone... tell me a story from when you were a kid." "I'd rather not go there" he replies.
In her attempt to coax him into sharing she wrinkles her eyebrows and says please.
He's obviously annoyed, but knows she will continue to press him till she gets what she wants. It's a skill she she's mastered that he's quite immune to. A certain ability to drive him to a vulnerable state and spill his deepest pain. He hated that aspect of her, but he knew she had the ability to suck the very marrow from his bones with what seemed like little effort.
Fixing his eyes downward on the white table cloth he gives into the inevitable, swallowing hard he begins his decent into the deep recesses of his childhood memories........"You want a story? Well let me think....it's so hard to choose because I had such a fucking fantastic childhood. Maybe I should start with how my Mom was a complete drunk and completely negligent. Or how about, all the times she was so drunk she couldn't go to the grocery store to buy food and my sister would go and steal food from the neighbors while they were at work. Or maybe I should tell you about how I flunked the 2nd grade because she was so drunk off her ass every night she couldn't get her ass out of bed to wake me up for school ...........is that what you want to hear?
His eyes rise to meet hers and she can tell, he's not finished by a long shot.She sips her water trying to wrap her head around his anger and pain, bracing herself for round two as her eyes are now fixated on the white table cloth as he once again begins speaking.
"But you know what? As bad as that was, nothing compares to to the last time I saw her when I was a kid. Luckily my Dad got some sense knocked into his ass and realized what a piece of shit she was and I moved in with him. Years later I walk into a party store on my way home from school, grab a mountain dew and candy bar and walk up to the counter to pay. There she is in all her glory working the cash register. She looks at me and says a dollar twenty. That's when I realize she has no idea who I am. She doesn't know me from fucking Adam. You don't recognize me do you? I ask her. "No, do I know you?", she says to me. "I'm you son, your baby boy" I say.
"You know what she says to me? Nothing..........that's right, she doesn't say a god damn thing.....just gives me my change. Her own flesh and blood standing before her, that she hasn't seen for 8 years and she has nothing to say.....I just say fuck it to myself and walk out of the store."
As if exhausted he runs his hands down his face, and finishes off the remainder of his beer in one quick slam. She raises her head to meet his eyes realizing the consequences of her manipulation. Quickly standing he pulls a wad of cash from his wallet and tosses it on the table. "Dinner's over" he quips. "I'll pull the car up, meet me out front in 5 minutes.
And once again she sits alone.